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Front. Psychol. | doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2018.02348

Network Structure Predicts Changes in Perception Accuracy of Social Relationships

  • 1William James Center for Research, Portugal
  • 2Social Cognition Center Cologne, Faculty of Human Sciences, University of Cologne, Germany

The goal of this study was to test how changes in perception accuracy of affiliative networks (i.e., the ability to accurately identify who affiliates with whom) are related to an important structural feature of peer groups- the likelihood of children to affiliate with mutual partners (transitivity). Data from three longitudinal samples (two from elementary school children and one from young adolescents; N = 257, 618 observations) show that children and adolescents in classrooms with a higher proportion of transitive relationships are better at perceiving who affiliates with whom, and that increases in transitivity associate with increases in perception accuracy. This is the first study to show that structural features of peer groups relate with individual perceptions of affiliative relationships, providing further evidence that these features have an important role in promoting individual adaptation and supporting previous suggestions that classroom-variables play a role in fostering accurate perceptions of social relationships.

Keywords: Perception accuracy, Affiliative networks, Transitivity, elementary school children, Young adolescents

Received: 01 Aug 2018; Accepted: 09 Nov 2018.

Edited by:

Kai S. Cortina, University of Michigan, United States

Reviewed by:

Carmelo M. Vicario, Università degli Studi di Messina, Italy
Vrinda Kalia, Miami University, United States  

Copyright: © 2018 Daniel, Silva and Santos. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: PhD. João R. Daniel, William James Center for Research, Lisbon, Portugal, joaordaniel@gmail.com