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Taking the High Ground: The Impact of Social Status on the Derogation of Ideological Opponents

Gregg, Aiden P and Mahadevan, Nikhila and Sedikides, Constantine (2018) 'Taking the High Ground: The Impact of Social Status on the Derogation of Ideological Opponents.' Social Cognition, 36 (1). pp. 43-77. ISSN 0278-016X

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People tend to derogate their ideological opponents. But how does social status affect this tendency? We tested a prediction derived from hierometer theory that people with higher status would derogate ideological opponents less (i.e., evaluate them more charitably). We further predicted that greater rhetoric handling prowess (RHP: feeling more confident and less intimidated while arguing) would mediate the effect. Study 1 established a link between higher status and lesser opponent derogation correlationally. Study 2 did so experimentally. Using a scale to assess RHP developed and validated in Study 3, Study 4 established that RHP statistically mediated the correlational link between status and derogation. In Study 5, experimentally manipulating status affected RHP as predicted. However, in Study 6, experimentally manipulating RHP did not affect opponent derogation as predicted. Thus, our findings were substantially, but not entirely, consistent with our theoretically derived predictions. Implications for hierometer theory, and related theoretical approaches, are considered.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: derogation, status, social status, rhetoric, hierometer theory
Divisions: Faculty of Science and Health
Faculty of Science and Health > Psychology, Department of
SWORD Depositor: Elements
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 26 May 2020 07:37
Last Modified: 06 Jan 2022 14:05

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