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On the dynamics of social hierarchy: A longitudinal investigation of the rise and fall of prestige, dominance, and social rank in naturalistic task groups

Redhead, Daniel J and Cheng, Joey T and Driver, Charles and Foulsham, Tom and O'Gorman, Rick (2019) 'On the dynamics of social hierarchy: A longitudinal investigation of the rise and fall of prestige, dominance, and social rank in naturalistic task groups.' Evolution and Human Behavior, 40 (2). 222 - 234. ISSN 1090-5138

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Abstract

The pursuit of social rank pervades all human societies and the position that an individual occupies within a hierarchy has important effects on their social and reproductive success. Whilst recent research has indicated that there are two distinct routes to rank attainment—dominance (through the induction of fear) and prestige (through respect and admiration)—this empirical evidence has generally provided only a cross-sectional snapshot of how the two processes operate in human hierarchy. Whether dominance and prestige are potentially viable long-term strategies, rather than more effective short-term tactics, for acquiring rank in groups remains an open question. The current research addresses this gap by examining the temporal dynamics between prestige, dominance and social rank using a dynamic, evolutionary approach to understanding human social hierarchy, and thus supplies the first longitudinal empirical assessment of these variables’ relationships. Using naturalistic student project groups comprised of 3-5 teammates, the present research tracks the temporal relationships between prestige, dominance and social rank— provided through round-robin teammate-ratings—from the initial formation of collaborative task groups through to the end of a 16-week long academic semester. Results indicate that, whilst dominance and prestige both promoted social rank in unacquainted groups initially and were distinct processes throughout the period examined, only prestige had a positive effect on social rank over time. Further results reveal that the temporal relationship between prestige and social rank was bidirectional, such that acquiring social rank further perpetuates future prestige. Overall, findings present a framework for the longitudinal distinction between prestige and dominance.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Prestige; Dominance; Social Hierarchy; Social Status; Group Dynamics; Longitudinal Study
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: Faculty of Science and Health > Psychology, Department of
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 13 Dec 2018 11:31
Last Modified: 13 Jun 2019 11:15
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/23624

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