[MUSIC] Hi! Welcome, thanks for coming to the psychology of popularity. I'm glad that you selected this course. And I'm excited to tell you about some of the work that I've been doing and lots of researchers have been doing in the area of popularity. But when we talk about popularity, a lot of people will sometimes say is this really a subject that people study in psychology? Isn't this just something that is important in high school or in adolescence? What difference does this really make in the real world? So maybe a good way to start is for us to talk a little bit about how popularity really does play an important role. And it plays an important role actually throughout the entire lifespan. So, first of all, of course when we think about who cares about popularity we think about children. And in this graphic what you can see is that even starting at very young ages, and this graphic is from over 30 years ago, children spend far more time of their waking hours surrounded by their peers than surrounded by adults. And you can see here that between the ages of about two all the way until pre-adolescence, there's this dramatic and increasing tendency for kids to interact with their peers. So of course, if those interactions are aversive, difficult, filled with victimization that's going to have a big effect on the developing child. What you don't see after this graphic is that these trends just increase dramatically into adolescence. So once kids get into adolescence, of course, it's totally uncool to spend any time with adults. And we see even more increases in the amount of time spent with peers. In fact, what we know is that starting at the age of three, young children can already tell you which kids are the most popular, which kids are the least popular, and which kids are kind of not affiliating with their peers at all. So starting from very, very early in childhood, popularity becomes a really important construct, a variable, that really has impact over time. Now once we pass through childhood and we get into adolescence, there are actually some biological reasons why popularity starts playing a big role. So what you can see here, this is a graphic of the brain. And what we know now is that from the time that the pubertal transition starts, adolescents brains start to mature, but the whole brain doesn't mature at the exact same time. It actually starts in the back and then the development of the brain kind of moves up forward. So what that means is that the parts of the brain that are developing the most are the parts that are below the cortex. In other words, the parts that are shared with most mammals. And those things are kind of instinctual drives and things that you want for quick rewards. And one of those pieces in the limbic system that's really important is the desire for social rewards. And the reason why in adolescence there's this big push for our brains telling us to go out and get social rewards, is because it's a way of helping us to develop autonomy from adults. It's basically telling us, your parents aren't cool anymore. You want to be able to go out and learn how to be self sufficient. You're not going to be taking care of by your parents for the rest of your life. So our brains make us really interested in hanging out with peers, being very excited about what happens with peers. And as a result, we tend to be very interested in whatever we can do to make us want to get rewards from people our age. And simultaneously, we become less interested in adults, so that's totally natural. Unfortunately all that develops before the part of the brain in the front that helps us to exert control over those impulses and keep us from doing things impulsive. That doesn't develop until later, so we don't really see that happen which is why in adolescence there's lots of risk taking behavior. So that's why we see this huge increase in a desire to do what peers do and care what peers think in adolescence. So that's a big part of what's happening as we grow up. And of course, when we think about adolescence usually the things we remember the most are not the things that happened with our parents or the things that happened with our courses in high school. But we're really think about who was popular, how much was I embarrassed in front of other peers? How much can I make sure that I'm meeting people to be friends with or to date, and that becomes really important. So what about with adults? Well, I mean, one interesting thing about adulthood is that for some reason, adults love talking about their adolescence in terms of popularity. And if you look at things that you see on TV, or songs, or especially movies out there, there are tons of movies that kind of bring us back to those times in adolescence. And we really are talking about peer relationships and friendships. There's a reason why we're really interested in that and that's from nostalgic value. But maybe there's a reason why we also care about popularity as adults. That has to do with present day. If you think about it, there are a lot of ways that in our adulthood life, we are still thinking about and probably really affected by popularity. And hopefully that's why you're here. You're here so that way you can get an idea about how popularity is affecting how happy you are today, how successful you are today and how your relationships are going today. There are a lot of different ways that we see this and probably now much more than we have seen for decades earlier. We see all this reflected in social media. So social media is really pulling us all back into that adolescent world of caring about who responded to our Facebook likes and posts and how many Twitter followers we have. And which pictures we put up, and how many people have paid attention to that. It's kind of in a way of playing out this idea of popularity all over again, but it's doing it in a way that's explicit and measurable and there are numbers next to it. And people sometimes even get very hyped up about how often their posts have been paid attention to. Or they seem to try and get more relationships through social media. So it's affecting us as adults. It's certainly affecting these adolescents growing up today. But it's also affecting us as adults. Another way that we really see popularity playing a role is our big fixation with celebrities. And if you think about it, celebrities are kind of the popular kids in the adult high school. For some reason, and all you have to do is go to the grocery store and kind of see all the magazines there. We are remarkably concerned about what they're doing and what they look like and what they say and what their opinions are. This is even a big marketing strategy to get celebrity endorsers with the idea that if a celebrity buys a product or espouses a world view, we might be more likely to have similar attitudes. And the reason why is it's playing up on these same ideas of popularity that we will see what those people do as highly influential. In fact, a lot of marketing is really geared towards leveraging the same types of popularity dynamics in current day. And when you think about marketing from the perspective of political marketing. We're really seeing that when it comes to campaigns and presidential campaigns, there's really a way in which we're trying to be pulled towards the same types of popularity politics. And that really plays an important role. And it's something that's effecting our whole culture. And that has a lot to do with popularity. But, even if we go beyond the perspective of the entire culture, how is popularity affecting your life? What are things that you are experiencing every day that have a lot to do with popularity, as many of us have studied it, in childhood and adolescence? Well If you work in an office with other people, then you've probably noticed that there are some ways that the office has some of the kinds of cliques and groups and reputations that there was in high school. It might be far more sophisticated. It might be presented in a way that's a little bit different. No one is kind of playing on a playground or teasing kids that have to sit in the corner of the room in the workplace. But there are ways in which some people tend to have much more influence in meetings, people really want to hear what they have to say, they have a way of really getting people laughing. They might stand in the door frame having conversations with their coworkers a lot. Where as other people, they're not invited to lunch, they really aren't someone that people want to affiliate with. Turns out that really affects work performance. That affects how much the company, overall, is successful. That even affects how long people will stay in their job, and a lot of that has to do with popularity. We also see this of course, play a role in all of our relationships. So whether it's our adulthood friendships and how much we feel we're getting support from friends in times of stress. Or how much we feel in our friendship groups. There are some people who tend to be the boss. And tell everyone what they're doing and what the plans are and whose house you're meeting at. Versus those that tend to still feel a little bit like they're on the outskirts of the social group. Or they're not the ones in the neighborhood that are often invited to all of the events. That's all about popularity too. In fact, we even see that play a big role when it comes to romantic partners. Who you meet, how dating goes, how we feel during a date. Then afterwards, our satisfaction in our marital relationships or other kinds of romantic partnerships. A lot of that stems from the things we learn about popularity. Of course, for those of us that are parents, in our adulthood, we also find that parenting is something really tied into popularity, as well. We know that the way that you experience popularity as a child as related to the kind of parent you are. And we also know that it affects you're own children's level of popularity and whether they do well at school or if they don't do as well with their peers. We also know that how kids deal with popularity today, especially in the world of social media, is very different than how we all dealt with these things back when we were kids, way before social media even got started. So that's something we're going to talk about as well. So overall, what we're going to talk about for the rest of this course is specifically why popularity is so important. Why is it that this is something that we all seem to care so much about when we're young, and it continues to play out in all these different ways in adulthood? We're going to talk also about how we study popularity scientifically. And using that scientific research, what do we know about what predicts who's popular across lots of different settings and across the lifespan? And how popularity predicts our life outcomes overall. And we're going to talk about all of these things over the course of the next few lectures so thanks again for joining. Really excited that you're here and excited to keep on going with the next clip.