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Halo and association effects: Cognitive biases in teacher attunement to peer‐nominated bullies, victims, and prosocial students

Abstract This study examined whether teachers’ perceptions of students’ behavior (referring to halo effects) and the behavior of teacher‐perceived friends (referring to association effects) influenced teachers’ ability to recognize students identified as bullies, victims, and prosocial by their peers. Data came from 1,458 children (Mage = 10.5, 47.5% girls) and 56 teachers (Mage = 40.8, 66.1% females). Perceived likeability was associated with decreased odds and teachers’ perceptions of popularity and externalizing behavior were associated with increased odds for teacher attunement to bullying. Perceived likeability and affiliation were associated with decreased odds for teacher attunement to victimized students. Teachers’ perceptions of externalizing behavior were associated with decreased odds, whereas teachers’ perceptions of affiliation and academic competence were associated with increased odds for attunement to prosociality. Finally, a positive association was found between teacher attunement and the average behavior of teacher‐perceived friends for bullying, victimization, and prosociality.

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