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Popular Boys Show Their Tough Side

In the grueling social world of grade school, there's a flip side to a boy's popularity, a new study finds.

A small but influential contingent of boys in fourth to sixth grade attains popularity through a flair for physical intimidation, manipulating others, and disrupting classroom activities, say psychologist Philip C.

Rodkin of Duke University in Durham, N.C., and his coworkers. Although not particularly well-liked by a majority of their peers, these boys—dubbed "tough boys" by the researchers—command their own cliques and sit high on the junior social ladder.

"Model boys" take a contrasting route to popularity, Rodkin's group reports. These youngsters get along with others, do well in school and sports, and display leadership while respecting adult authority.

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