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Teasing, taunting, and the politics of politeness: high sociometric status is associated with expectation-consistent behavior.

  • Author(s): Kraus, Michael W
  • Oveis, Christopher
  • Allison, Maria Logli
  • Young, Randall C
  • Tauer, John
  • Keltner, Dacher
  • et al.
Abstract

Research examining face-to-face status hierarchies suggests that individuals attain respect and admiration by engaging in behavior that influences others' judgments of their value to the group. Building on this research, we expected that high-status individuals would be less likely to engage in behaviors that violate group norms and expectations, relative to low-status individuals. Adolescent participants took part in an interaction in which they teased an opposite-gender friend (Study 1) or an experiment in which taunting or cheering expectations were manipulated (Study 2). Consistent with the hypothesis, high-status boys and girls engaged in teasing behaviors consistent with their gender roles, relative to their low status counterparts (Study 1). In Study 2, high-status boys engaged in more direct provocation and off-record commentary while taunting, and more affiliative behavior while cheering on their partner, relative to low-status boys. Discussion focused on how expectation-consistent actions help individuals maintain elevated status.

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