Friends don’t make friends watch friends

Friends don’t make friends watch friends

Elise Kramer

Your child’s friends might influence him to work harder in school or say no to drugs, but new research suggests that peers have little influence on one’s taste in food, music or television.

Paul Rozin, a psychology professor at the University of Pennsylvania, recently tested whether third graders and college students develop tastes similar to those of peers with whom they spend the most time.

He was surprised to find very low correlations between time spent together and similarity of tastes. Roommates’ preferences did not converge over time, and a third grader’s favorite foods or TV shows were no more aligned with those of a close friend than with those of a randomly chosen classmate.

Past studies show that even parents have minimal influence over their kids’ tastes, which leaves the true source of preferences a mystery. Researchers are investigating the interplay of genes and environment.

TELLING PEOPLE HOW MISERABLE THEIR BEHAVIOR MAKES YOU IS LESS EFFECTIVE THAN TELLING THEM WHAT YOU WANT.

TERRENCE REAL, at the Smart Marriages conferences in Dallas.

COPYRIGHT 2004 Sussex Publishers, Inc.

COPYRIGHT 2004 Gale Group