TitleHow perception of status differences affects our decision making
NameBhattacharya, Swati (author), Tricomi, Elizabeth (chair), Delgado, Mauricio R. (internal member), Boxer, Paul (internal member), Kressel, Kenneth (internal member), Schiemann, John (outside member), Rutgers University, Graduate School - Newark,
DescriptionAs human beings, we aspire higher to achieve greater security in our lives. We assess our standing in society in relative terms. Past studies have shown that our subjective social status relative to society can determine health consequences (Operario et al, 2004). Yet, we have a limited understanding of how to measure our subjective status and how that affects our decision making and behavior. Understanding these may reveal important information about how perception of status differences affects behavior. Therefore, the primary goal of this dissertation is to closely examine perception of status in order to evaluate its subsequent effect on decision making. Four studies were conducted to examine the relationship between status perceptions and decision making. In the first study, we established a laboratory manipulation of status, designed and validated appropriate questionnaires, and probed its effects on decision making via an economic game called the Ultimatum Game. In study 2, we examined how perception of status affected choice of an experimental status symbol. Both of these studies showed a negative relationship with decision making. In study 1, the low status subjects, who felt inferior to their partner, shared more with their high status partners. And in study 2, we observed that in certain contexts, the low status subjects, who felt inferior to their partner, chose the experimental status symbol more. However, in study 3, when we made the experimental situation riskier, subjects who perceived themselves to be inferior to their partner chose the status symbol less than their high status counterparts. In addition, low status subjects showed more affinity for risk at specific levels. In study 4, we examined if these effects were due to self-esteem and found no effect of self-esteem. Together, these studies showed that laboratory manipulations of status can capture psychological aspects of the status experience and may induce a compensatory tendency. These compensatory tendencies may vary depending on both status of the subject and riskiness of the situation. Studying status in a laboratory setting allows researchers to understand these behaviors more closely and speculate on how to best address status concerns for the betterment of society.
NoteIncludes bibliographical references
Noteby Swati Bhattacharya
CollectionGraduate School - Newark Electronic Theses and Dissertations
Organization NameRutgers, The State University of New Jersey
RightsThe author owns the copyright to this work.