Two studies investigate individuals' concerns about interpersonal interactions when interacting with higher- and lower-status others, and how individuals manage those concerns. Various coping strategies emerge, including hiding status differences between the self and an interaction partner, self-promoting or ingratiating, and specifically cooperating downward. Study 1 shows students' motivation to affiliate with students at both lower- and higher-status universities, by strategically concealing their higher-status identities versus lower-status identities, respectively. With status experimentally manipulated in the laboratory in Study 2, higher-status participants shift their impression-management strategies by ingratiating themselves to their lower-status interaction partners, and shift their behavior by cooperating more than lower-status participants. These studies describe concerns and behavioral consequences involved in interpersonal interactions across social status divides, in particular a tendency of downward ingratiation and cooperation.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Social Psychology
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Impression management
- Interpersonal interactions
- Social class
- Social comparison