At one school, the popular girls were called the “chicken patties,” but the jocks were just the “jocks.” How teenage crowds get named


From The Morning News:

We also know that crowd labels in middle school differ from those in high school. Early in middle school, kids call each other names like “the runaround crowd,” “the door crowd,” “the skip rope crowd”—a map of concrete activities that go on at recess. But, Brown said, by the time they’re in high school, they use their relatively more mature brains to map their social worlds in more abstract terms. The result are true crowd labels—“jocks,” “punks,” “brainiacs”—that don’t refer to actual individuals in the lunchrooms and hallways, but to categories that teenagers carry in their heads. Using a crowd label as a kind of mental shorthand explains why idiosyncratic ones might not happen that often—the more generic the name, the more usable it is.

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