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Male cliques may have also gone largely unnoticed because they often appear less exclusive toward the non-clique peer group members.

This last difference may arise because males more frequently reported ambitions related to acceptance and status throughout their crowd, whereas females more often aspired to status and close bonds with only a few peers (i.e. The stereotype of cruel, unwelcoming clique members is well supported in some cases, but other cliques are more open to drifters.

Researchers, however, question these assumptions: based on empiric data from both experiments and ethnographies they suggest that clique structure characterizes many friendship networks within any given school, not all of which negatively affect adolescents.

More subtle determinant of group membership, such as shared interests and values, take precedence as adolescents develop more sophisticated, abstract cognitive functions (more here), which allow them to categorize individuals in more subtle ways and better interpret social interactions.

Interacting with cliques is part of normative social development regardless of gender, ethnicity, or popularity.