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Science AMA Series: This is Dr. Jenna Watling Neal, Dr. Emily Durbin, Allison Gornik, & Sharon Lo, psychologists at Michigan State University. We’re here to discuss how preschool kids’ social networks shape their personalities & vice versa. Ask us anything!
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Hello Reddit! We are a team of researchers at Michigan State University who recently published a paper in Journal of Personality and Social Psychology examining how preschool kids’ social networks and personalities affect each other over the course of a school year. Here is the link to our study abstract: http://psycnet.apa.org/psycinfo/2017-04563-001/ Emily is an associate professor in social psychology and Allison and Sharon are both graduate students in clinical psychology. They all study the development of kids’ personalities and emotions. Jenna is an associate professor in community psychology who studies kids’ social networks in schools. We decided to put our heads together to learn more about how kids’ personalities and social networks influence each other. In a nutshell, we found that some aspects of kids’ personalities (e.g., displays of positive emotion, ability to regulate behavior) are shaped by the playmates in their networks. However, we also found that some aspects of kids’ personalities can shape their networks too. The results of our paper was recently featured on Reddit and you guys had a lot to say about it!: https://www.reddit.com/r/science/comments/5s73mt/when_preschoolers_spend_time_around_one_another/ We’d love to answer any questions you have about our study. We’d be happy to chat about the theories behind our work, our observational methods, the analyses we used, or what we found. We’d also be happy to answer more general questions about kids’ personality development or kids’ social networks. Or, if you are just interested in what it’s like to be a psychology professor or graduate student, ask away! If you’d like to see the full study, you can request it here: http://psychology.msu.edu/Faculty/FacultyMember.aspx?netid=jneal Go to the following citation, hit the request a copy button, and enter your email to have the paper automatically send to your inbox: Neal, J.W., Durbin, C.E., Gornik, A.E., & Lo, S.L. (in press). Co-development of preschoolers’ temperament traits and social play networks over an entire school year. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. We will be back at 4 pm ET to answer you questions!