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Concept: Social status


How much do our choices represent stable inner preferences versus social conformity? We examine conformity and consistency in sartorial choices surrounding a common life event of new norm exposure: relocation. A large-scale dataset of individual purchases of women’s shoes (16,236 transactions) across five years and 2,007 women reveals a balance of conformity and consistency, moderated by changes in location socioeconomic status. Women conform to new local norms (i.e., average heel size) when moving to relatively higher status locations, but mostly ignore new local norms when moving to relatively lower status locations. In short, at periods of transition, it is the fashion norms of the rich that trickle down to consumers. These analyses provide the first naturalistic large-scale demonstration of the tension between psychological conformity and consistency, with real decisions in a highly visible context.

Concepts: Socioeconomic status, Sociology, Choice, Preference, Social status, Consumer theory, Conformity


Like humans, monkeys value information about sex and status, inviting the hypothesis that our susceptibility to these factors in advertising arises from shared, ancestral biological mechanisms that prioritize social information. To test this idea, we asked whether rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta) show choice behavior that is similar to humans in response to sex and social status in advertising. Our results show that monkeys form preferences for brand logos repeatedly paired with images of macaque genitals and high status monkeys. Moreover, monkeys sustain preferences for these brand logos even though choosing them provided no tangible rewards, a finding that cannot be explained by a decision mechanism operating solely on material outcomes. Together, our results endorse the hypothesis that the power of sex and status in advertising emerges from the spontaneous engagement of shared, ancestral neural circuits that prioritize information useful for navigating the social environment. Finally, our results show that simple associative conditioning is sufficient to explain the formation of preferences for brand logos paired with sexual or status-based images.

Concepts: Sociology, Macaque, Primate, Rhesus Macaque, Choice, Monkeys in space, Social status, Cercopithecine monkeys


To evaluate spatial effects of variation and social determinants of salt intake in Britain.

Concepts: Socioeconomic status, Sociology, Salt, Social status


Tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) is endemic to Europe and medically highly significant. This study, focused on Poland, investigated individual risk factors for TBE symptomatic infection.

Concepts: Epidemiology, Disease, Infectious disease, Socioeconomic status, Europe, Case-control study, Encephalitis, Social status


Working long hours might have adverse health effects, but whether this is true for all socioeconomic status groups is unclear. In this meta-analysis stratified by socioeconomic status, we investigated the role of long working hours as a risk factor for type 2 diabetes.

Concepts: Epidemiology, Diabetes mellitus type 2, Diabetes mellitus, Socioeconomic status, Sociology, Social status, Working time


Low calcium intake may adversely affect bone health in adults. Recognizing the presence of low calcium intake is necessary to develop national strategies to optimize intake. To highlight regions where calcium intake should be improved, we systematically searched for the most representative national dietary calcium intake data in adults from the general population in all countries. We searched 13 electronic databases and requested data from domain experts. Studies were double-screened for eligibility. Data were extracted into a standard form. We developed an interactive global map, categorizing countries based on average calcium intake and summarized differences in intake based on sex, age, and socioeconomic status. Searches yielded 9780 abstracts. Across the 74 countries with data, average national dietary calcium intake ranges from 175 to 1233 mg/day. Many countries in Asia have average dietary calcium intake less than 500 mg/day. Countries in Africa and South America mostly have low calcium intake between about 400 and 700 mg/day. Only Northern European countries have national calcium intake greater than 1000 mg/day. Survey data for three quarters of available countries were not nationally representative. Average calcium intake is generally lower in women than men, but there are no clear patterns across countries regarding relative calcium intake by age, sex, or socioeconomic status. The global calcium map reveals that many countries have low average calcium intake. But recent, nationally representative data are mostly lacking. This review draws attention to regions where measures to increase calcium intake are likely to have skeletal benefits.

Concepts: Bone, Socioeconomic status, Calcium, Social status, Nation, Northern Europe, Nationality


We posit that the modern airplane is a social microcosm of class-based society, and that the increasing incidence of “air rage” can be understood through the lens of inequality. Research on inequality typically examines the effects of relatively fixed, macrostructural forms of inequality, such as socioeconomic status; we examine how temporary exposure to both physical and situational inequality, induced by the design of environments, can foster antisocial behavior. We use a complete set of all onboard air rage incidents over several years from a large, international airline to test our predictions. Physical inequality on airplanes-that is, the presence of a first class cabin-is associated with more frequent air rage incidents in economy class. Situational inequality-boarding from the front (requiring walking through the first class cabin) versus the middle of the plane-also significantly increases the odds of air rage in both economy and first class. We show that physical design that highlights inequality can trigger antisocial behavior on airplanes. More broadly, these results point to the importance of considering the design of environments-from airplanes to office layouts to stadium seating-in understanding both the form and emergence of antisocial behavior.

Concepts: Sociology, Antisocial personality disorder, Social status, Amtrak, Air travel, Travel class, First class travel, Business class


Mistrust of others may build upon perceptions of the self as vulnerable, consistent with an association of paranoia with perceived lower social rank. Height is a marker of social status and authority. Therefore we tested the effect of manipulating height, as a proxy for social rank, on paranoia. Height was manipulated within an immersive virtual reality simulation. Sixty females who reported paranoia experienced a virtual reality train ride twice: at their normal and reduced height. Paranoia and social comparison were assessed. Reducing a person’s height resulted in more negative views of the self in comparison with other people and increased levels of paranoia. The increase in paranoia was fully mediated by changes in social comparison. The study provides the first demonstration that reducing height in a social situation increases the occurrence of paranoia. The findings indicate that negative social comparison is a cause of mistrust.

Concepts: Sociology, Human height, Mind, Concepts in metaphysics, Simulated reality, Reality, Virtual reality, Social status


We examined whether the negative relation between television viewing that exceeds the recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and school readiness varied by family income.

Concepts: Socioeconomic status, Household income in the United States, Social status


We propose that the psychological states individuals bring into newly formed groups can produce meaningful differences in status attainment. Three experiments explored whether experimentally created approach-oriented mindsets affected status attainment in groups, both immediately and over time. We predicted that approach-oriented states would lead to greater status attainment by increasing proactive behavior. Furthermore, we hypothesized that these status gains would persist longitudinally, days after the original mindsets had dissipated, due to the self-reinforcing behavioral cycles the approach-oriented states initiated. In Experiment 1, individuals primed with a promotion focus achieved higher status in their newly formed groups, and this was mediated by proactive behavior as rated by themselves and their teammates. Experiment 2 was a longitudinal experiment and revealed that individuals primed with power achieved higher status, both immediately following the prime and when the groups were reassembled 2 days later to work on new tasks. These effects were mediated by independent coders' ratings of proactive behavior during the first few minutes of group interaction. Experiment 3 was another longitudinal experiment and revealed that priming happiness led to greater status as well as greater acquisition of material resources. Importantly, these immediate and longitudinal effects were independent of the effects of a number of stable dispositional traits. Our results establish that approach-oriented psychological states affect status attainment, over and above the more stable characteristics emphasized in prior research, and provide the most direct test yet of the self-reinforcing nature of status hierarchies. These findings depict a dynamic view of status organization in which the same group may organize itself differently depending on members' incoming psychological states. (PsycINFO Database Record © 2013 APA, all rights reserved).

Concepts: Psychology, Sociology, Affect, Experiment, Hypothesis, Behavior, Social status, Status attainment