Seeing and being seen: Predictors of accurate perceptions about classmates' relationships

Jennifer Watling Neal, Zachary P. Neal, Elise Cappella

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study examines predictors of observer accuracy (i.e. seeing) and target accuracy (i.e. being seen) in perceptions of classmates' relationships in a predominantly African American sample of 420 second through fourth graders (ages 7-11). Girls, children in higher grades, and children in smaller classrooms were more accurate observers. Targets (i.e. pairs of children) were more accurately observed when they occurred in smaller classrooms of higher grades and involved same-sex, high-popularity, and similar-popularity children. Moreover, relationships between pairs of girls were more accurately observed than relationships between pairs of boys. As a set, these findings suggest the importance of both observer and target characteristics for children's accurate perceptions of classroom relationships. Moreover, the substantial variation in observer accuracy and target accuracy has methodological implications for both peer-reported assessments of classroom relationships and the use of stochastic actor-based models to understand peer selection and socialization processes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalSocial Networks
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016


  • Accuracy
  • Cognitive social structures
  • Interpersonal perception
  • Middle childhood
  • Peer relationships
  • Stochastic actor-based models

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • General Social Sciences
  • General Psychology


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