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The Power And Pain Of Popularity

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Mitch Prinstein
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Penguin Random House/2017

Popularity is often a concern for teenagers, but research shows it also influences life outside the high school cafeteria. Children as young as four years old can identify their most popular peer, and one’s popularity growing up can even predict his or her lifespan.

In the book “Popular: The Power of Likability in a Status-Obsessed World” (Penguin Random House/2017), Mitch Prinstein teases apart the distinction between two different types of popularity: likability and status. 

Guest host Anita Rao talks with Prinstein about the science of popularity, the role of social media and the dangers of fixating on status. Prinstein is also a professor of psychology and neuroscience at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Note: This program originally aired on June 7, 2017.

Charlie Shelton-Ormond is a podcast producer for WUNC.
Anita Rao is an award-winning journalist and the host and creator of "Embodied," a live, weekly radio show and seasonal podcast about sex, relationships & health. She's also the managing editor of WUNC's on-demand content.