High School Seniors Are Soooo Popular, Hypothesizes Math

Illustration for article titled High School Seniors Are Soooo Popular, Hypothesizes Math

In a University of Michigan paper posted to Arxiv and covered on Wired, the curse (and art) of unreciprocated friendships—two words: Regina George—are examined at length in a mathematical forum.

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"We find that students can be ranked from low to high such that most unreciprocated friendships consist of a lower-ranked individual claiming friendship with a higher-ranked one," posit the researchers. "Rankings are correlated with other characteristics of the participants that are traditionally associated with status, such as age and overall popularity as measured by total number of friends."

What they found will surprise you. Not.

Illustration for article titled High School Seniors Are Soooo Popular, Hypothesizes Math
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In other words, the longer you survive the rank, incestuous, nepotistic Petri dish of high school, the more acolytes you will have to do your eternal bidding and/or give up the new white gold hoop earrings they got for Hannukah because hoop earrings are your thing.

Mathematics Confirms "Mean Girls" [Wired]

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DISCUSSION

The study actually concludes that their conclusion isn't really all that, well...conclusive. They suggest that it's quite possible that about half the reported "unreciprocated" relationships may either just be in the formative stages or will eventually dissolve. Oh well. I guess memory still serves, and high school really was a lot more boring in real life than it is in the movies. Buzzkill.