Abstract

 

Previous research on status and power has indicated both have
positive effects on judged dominance, while power alone has a negative effect
on perceived warmth. (Fragale, A.R). The
present study examines the differentiating
social judgements of people where gender and status is concerned, emphasising
the influence gender has. 89 students from the University of Brighton
participated in the study, where each participant was given a description of a
person, with different conditions regarding a high status individual or low
status individual and matching with three gender conditions – male, female or
anonymous.  Each student rated the extent
they believed the description of the person matched to various characteristics
representing warmth. The essential findings suggest there is some significance in
regard to status on a person’s perceived warmth, however there is no
significant difference when regarding genders effect on perceived warmth.

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Introduction

The importance of status has been a consistent
phenomenon throughout history whereby we have been forever concerned with our social
standing, so commonplace in every society that quests for power and status have
been described as fundamental human motives (Frank, 1985; McClelland,
1975; Winter, 1973). Status relates to the admiration and the
”respect one has in the eyes of others” (Magee and Galinsky, 2008) and it’s a considerably different concept to power in
that the latter is not recognised or deemed as ”social honor” whereas the
former is (when considering power economically it does not increase respect)
(Lemert 2004:116). Underpinning the
current study, Fragales study focused on power and status and the effect it has
on perceived warmth. In experiment one of this study participants of 100 U.S
undergraduate students (43% male) categorised the social judgements of various
occupations differing in power and status, where these 12 occupations were
rated on 8 dominance traits, and 8 warmth traits. Results suggest occupations
of high power, low status were perceived as cold whereas occupations of high
power, high status were perceived as warm and dominant. Furthermore, low power,
low status individuals were determined somewhat submissive and especially warm.
Experiment 2 was designed as a replication of the first experiment, where 114
undergraduate students were given an extract of a high or low status
individual who was  named ‘L’ of whom
referred to as male, female, or anonymous and were asked to rate the extent of
dominance and warmth(Fragale, Overbeck & Neale, 2011. Results illustrate
that increase in power means warmth decreases, contrasting to where status
increased, warmth increased. This research proposes that power differs from
status in their effects on perceived warmth, and it is essential that they are
distinguished in their meanings. It also highlights traits of the low status
individual as being”submissive” and warmer, thus making sense of future
research to discover whether factors concerning less dominant individuals is
significant.

Research investigating differences in behaviour of men and women
on gender-linked tasks found that on the masculine task men showed more
power-related verbal and nonverbal behaviour than women. However, during the
feminine task women demonstrated more verbal and non-verbal power-related
behaviour on most of the tasks than men. On the non-gender task men displayed
increased power both verbally and nonverbally than women. The study conveys how
closely men and women are assigned to their gender roles, and therefore men
feel the need to match assertiveness(Ridgeway(2001) .Women smiled more than men
across all conditions and men were more likely to display the chin thrust
action (Ridgeway 2001)  Gender
differences in smiling is greater when our understanding of gender-appropriate
behaviour is not rationalised, evident in the fact that there is a
statistically significant tendency for women to smile more than men  (LaFrance,
Hecht and Paluck, 2003)These beliefs inhibit women from being assertive
leaders because it violates expectations of power where they are expected to be
less assertive. Therefore, if women are not powerful (or at least do not
exhibit power related behaviour) then Fragales previous research suggests that
their chances of being perceived as warmer are greater, due to power being
associated with low warmth. This brings us to whether men and women are
different in regards to status which Fragale associated with high warmth. Warmth referes to “one’s intentions towards
others”, including traits such as cooperation and respectfulness(Fiske, 2012). A
study consisting of 253 undergraduate students included an evaluative
questionnaire for the university course, that included teachers performance,
context of student teacher contact, and found that female teachers were
perceived as warmer and more influential, but were expected to offer better
interpersonal support and were judged more precisely than male intructors in
providing it(Bennett, 1982) suggests that females in a
position of respect are influential and are perceived as warmer in these
situations. Women
may be more inclined for status as they “are prescribed to be communal, that
is, connected with others” (Delacollette, Dumont, Sarlet & Dardenne, 2012)
therefore it is expectations of society that can pedict precieved warmth, women
are expected to be more communal and connected with others and prefer status over
power as it regards more respect and trust, something women would be used to.
Therefore, the previous literature concludes
hypothesis 1 and 2 that will predict the outcome of the study. H1) Individuals
of high status will be perceived as warmer than low status individuals(H2) Individuals
that are female will be perceived as warmer than male individuals,

 

 

Methods

Participant

89
Psychology undergraduate students participated in the study whilst attending
their seminars, 78 of them female, 10 male, and 1 anonymous participant who
chose not to mention their gender. They were either of UK residence or studying
in the UK. Participants were ranging from 19 years of age to 49 years of age
with the mean age of 21.59 years (SD=5.13) 

 

 

Materials and Design

An independent
measures design was utilised which consists of each participant is only in one
condition of the independent variable (Alleydog.com, 2018). Of the status condition, 45
participants were given the person with high status and 43 were given low
status. The different gender conditions were matched with either high status or
low status, which included 30 participants assigned the male gender, 30
participants assigned the female gender, whilst the other 29 assigned the unspecified
gender.

 

Procedure

 

The study was taken
in the student’s psychology seminar classroom environment. The course tutor
handed each student similar descriptions at random where status and gender conditions
were different. Of these descriptions, each included the fictional character
named ‘L’. The seminar tutor declared students should complete the
questionnaire regarding warmth traits of the descriptive individual specifically
via a scale of 1-5. Ethically speaking the study made sure to prioritise the
right to withdraw by asking the participant to include their student number for
removal purposes. The tutor handed out consent forms to make each student aware
of the proceedings.

 

Participants were
instructed by the tutor to read a short description of a fictional person and
then make some judgements about that person by filling out a short
questionnaire. Consent forms were collected and participants informed of their
right to withdraw at any point, noting their candidate number if they should
wish to be removed from the system. Participants were then given an extract to
read about a person called ‘L’, which allocated them to a status and gender
condition (see Appendix A). Following on from this, participants were asked to
complete a questionnaire which measured attitudes towards ‘L’, where they were
to rate how likely is was for ‘L’ to possess certain characteristics, using a 5
point Likert scale. Reverse scoring methods were applied to the last few
questions, and a warmth score was calculated from combining all the questions,
with the minimum score being 8 and maximum as 40.

 

 

 

Results

A Kolmogorov-Smirnov
test was used showing all six conditions for perceived warmth were normally
distributed (p>.05).  The Levene’s
test was non significant, p=.303, which suggests the data has homogeneity of
variance and normality. A two way independent analysis of variance (ANOVA) was
carried out on the data; 3 (unspecified, female, male) x 2 (high status, low
status) design was used. As a result, there was a significant main effect of
status on perceived warmth, F(1,83)=126.84, p<.001. the data indicated high status successfully predicted warmth scores sd="4.27)," while low however there was a non significant main effect of gender on perceived f p=".360," nor interaction between and descriptive statistics can be found in appendix c all spss output is under d. discussion current study demonstrates where we draw conclusions that if an individual higher then they are lower re warmth. these correlates to previous literature particular research fragale. as result may succesfully accept hypothesis>