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Title: Inequality up close and (inter)personal: How individuals manage impressions in interpersonal interactions across social status divides
Authors: Swencionis, Jillian Kendra
Advisors: Fiske, Susan T
Contributors: Psychology Department
Keywords: impression management
social class
social comparison
social compensation
Subjects: Social psychology
Experimental psychology
Issue Date: 2016
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: How does inequality shape interpersonal interactions? This dissertation investigates individuals’ impression management strategies when interacting with others across social status divides. Chapter 1 reviews the literature, conceptualizing cross-status interactions as social comparisons and setting up hypotheses based on (a) ambivalent status-based stereotypes of warmth and competence and (b) compensation effects (warmth-competence tradeoffs) in impression management. In Chapter 2, Study 1a shows students’ motivation to affiliate with students at both lower- and higher-status universities, by strategically hiding their higher-status identities versus lower-status identities respectively. Study 1b conceptually replicates social compensation in a workplace context, revealing more warmth- versus competence-related traits, given ingratiation versus self-promotion goals respectively. In Chapter 3, Study 2 shows downward comparers downplayed their competence to appear warmer, and upward comparers downplayed their warmth to appear more competent. In status comparisons with counter-stereotypical targets, Studies 3a and 3b showed impression management strategies no longer diverge, but do not reverse, suggesting a mechanism that combines stereotype-disconfirming and target trait-matching goals. Study 4 shows lower-status participants may be matching the target’s stereotyped traits, while higher-status participants may be disconfirming stereotypes about themselves. In Chapter 4, Study 5 shows participants shifted their impression management strategies, and sent a tangible message to an assumed live interaction partner, with high-status participants cooperating more than low-status participants. Together, these studies show that mere status differences shift individuals’ interaction goals and behavior in conveying two central dimensions of impression formation, warmth and competence.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog:
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Psychology

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