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In sociology, the popularity of a person, idea, place, item or other concept can be defined in terms of liking, attraction, dominance and superiority. With respect to interpersonal popularity, there are two primary divisions: perceived and sociometric. According to psychologist Tessa Lansu at the Radboud University Nijmegen, 'Popularity to do with being the middle point of a group and having influence on it.' The term Popularity is borrowed from the Latin term popularis, which originally meant 'common.' The current definition of the word popular, the 'fact or condition of being well liked by the people', was first seen in 1601. While popularity is a trait often ascribed to an individual, it is an inherently social phenomenon and thus can only be understood in the context of groups of people. Popularity is a collective perception, and individuals report the consensus of a group's feelings towards an individual or object when rating popularity. It takes a group of people to like something, so the more that people advocate for something or claim that someone is best liked, the more attention it will get, and the more popular it will be deemed. Notwithstanding the above, popularity as a concept can be applied, assigned, or directed towards objects such as songs, movies, websites, activities, soaps, foods etc. Together, these objects collectively make up popular culture, or the consensus of mainstream preferences in society. In essence, anything, human or non-human, can be deemed popular. For many years, popularity research focused on a definition of popularity that was based on being 'well liked.' Eventually, it was discovered that those who are perceived as popular are not necessarily the most well liked as originally assumed. When students are given the opportunity to freely elect those they like most and those they perceive as popular, a discrepancy often emerges. This is evidence that there are two main forms of personal popularity that social psychology recognizes, sociometric popularity and perceived popularity. Sociometric popularity can be defined by how liked an individual is. This liking is correlated with prosocial behaviours. Those who act in prosocial ways are likely to be deemed sociometrically popular. Often they are known for their interpersonal abilities, their empathy for others, and their willingness to cooperate non-aggressively. This is a more private judgement, characterized by likability, that will not generally be shared in a group setting. Often, it is impossible to know whom individuals find popular on this scale unless confidentiality is ensured. Perceived popularity is used to describe those individuals who are known among their peers as being popular. Unlike sociometric popularity, perceived popularity is often associated with aggression and dominance and is not dependent on prosocial behaviors. This form of popularity is often explored by the popular media. Notable works dealing with perceived popularity include Mean Girls, Odd Girl Out, and Ferris Bueller's Day Off. Individuals who have perceived popularity are often highly socially visible and frequently emulated but rarely liked. Since perceived popularity is a measure of visible reputation and emulation, this form of popularity is most openly discussed, agreed upon within a group, and what most people refer to when they call someone popular.

[ "Social psychology", "Law", "content popularity", "popularity distribution" ]
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