Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour
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Thesis defense Hinke Endedijk (Donders series 254)

10 February 2017

Promotors: prof. dr. H. Bekkering, prof. dr. A. Cillessen,
copromotor: dr. S. Hunnius

Peer Interaction Under Construction

The aim of this thesis was to study the earliest building blocks of peer interaction. A sample of 180 2- to 4-year-old children were observed during peer interaction. Both their interpersonal coordination of behaviors as well as prosocial and antisocial behaviors were studied. Findings show that children strongly influenced each other’s behaviors during peer interaction: when the one child for instance claimed a toy, the other child was also more likely to do so. Children flexibly adapted their behaviors to different peers: they could show frequent prosocial behaviors during interaction with one peer, while during interaction with another peer they showed frequent antisocial behaviors. Moreover, we found that children’s early peer interaction behaviors predicted their preference by peers at 4 years of age when they had entered school. This research enriched our perspective on children’s early social development.