Tuesday, December 15, 2009


Read this interesting article on the psychology of social status. Both observations and conclusions seem to make sense but the author does not clarify whether status (high or low) is as it is perceived by the individual or as they are appear to be in the eyes of the world.

Status is inherently relative. A high in a one social milieu could end up ranking low in another. Would that then increase their propensity for negative low-status behavior ? Also if status is achieved or conferred for reasons other than material success what might an interaction between two high status individuals look like if their status is based on account of very different things. Who decides the relative status of these two individuals ?

Apparently, low-status behavior can be remedied : Finally, in an experiment with both high- and low-SES college students, Henry demonstrated that boosting people’s sense of self-worth diminished aggressive tendencies amongst low-status individuals.

The boosting of self-worth seems to be an integral part of elementary school curriculum but bullies are a still a problem. Maybe if self-worth boosting was limited to the target population it may have helped. With everyone undergoing a status elevation, the difference between high and low does not disappear - instead you now have to deal with the problem of everyone feeling special and entitled.

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