In August of 2001, Mitch Prinstein, a psychology professor who had just been hired at Yale University, offered his first class at the school: a course he had developed about popularity among children and adolescents. When Prinstein arrived at the small classroom the school had assigned him in the center of campus, he was greeted with a crowd outside the lecture hall—one so large that he figured there’d been a fire-drill-mandated building evacuation. It took him a moment to realize that there was no fire; the students were all there for his class. By the time the enrollment for the course was official, 550 students—a tenth of the school’s undergraduate population—had signed up to learn about that thing that is, variously, an aspiration and a scourge and a mystery: popularity.
Read the whole story: The Atlantic