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.