Hostile Attribution Bias

Hostile Attribution Bias
an interpretive bias wherein individuals exhibit a tendency to interpret others’ ambiguous behaviors as hostile, rather than benign. For example, if a child witnesses two other children whispering and assumes they are talking about him/her, that child makes an attribution of hostile intent, even though the other children’s behavior was potentially benign.

see also:
Psychology of Popularity
by Dr. Mitch Prinstein