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The Effect of Social Class on Agency and Communion


Aydin, Anna Lisa; Ullrich, Johannes; Siem, Birte; Locke, Kenneth D; Shnabel, Nurit (2018). The Effect of Social Class on Agency and Communion. Social Psychological and Personality Science:194855061878516.

Abstract

How does social class affect people’s goals in social interactions? A rank-based perspective suggests actors from higher social classes (compared to lower social classes) have more agentic and less communal goals when interacting with same class or unspecified others. Focusing on targets’ social class, an identity-based perspective suggests the reverse: Actors should more strongly endorse communal (agentic) goals toward illegitimately lower class (higher class) compared to illegitimately higher class (lower class) targets, regardless of actors’ own social class. Three preregistered experiments (N = 2,023) manipulated actor’s social class and the nature of the target (illegitimately higher/lower class, same class, unspecified) and measured participants’ goals in imagined interactions using the Circumplex Scales of Intergroup Goals. The identity-based perspective received strong support: Across studies, actors expressed stronger agentic (communal) goals toward higher class (lower class) targets. The rank-based perspective received limited support, with relatively low-class (vs. relatively high-class) actors expressing stronger communal goals toward same-class targets.

Abstract

How does social class affect people’s goals in social interactions? A rank-based perspective suggests actors from higher social classes (compared to lower social classes) have more agentic and less communal goals when interacting with same class or unspecified others. Focusing on targets’ social class, an identity-based perspective suggests the reverse: Actors should more strongly endorse communal (agentic) goals toward illegitimately lower class (higher class) compared to illegitimately higher class (lower class) targets, regardless of actors’ own social class. Three preregistered experiments (N = 2,023) manipulated actor’s social class and the nature of the target (illegitimately higher/lower class, same class, unspecified) and measured participants’ goals in imagined interactions using the Circumplex Scales of Intergroup Goals. The identity-based perspective received strong support: Across studies, actors expressed stronger agentic (communal) goals toward higher class (lower class) targets. The rank-based perspective received limited support, with relatively low-class (vs. relatively high-class) actors expressing stronger communal goals toward same-class targets.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
Dewey Decimal Classification:150 Psychology
Scopus Subject Areas:Social Sciences & Humanities > Social Psychology
Social Sciences & Humanities > Clinical Psychology
Uncontrolled Keywords:Clinical Psychology, Social Psychology
Language:English
Date:2018
Deposited On:02 Jul 2018 12:33
Last Modified:29 Jul 2020 07:23
Publisher:Sage Publications Ltd.
ISSN:1948-5506
OA Status:Green
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1177/1948550618785162
Project Information:
  • : FunderDFG
  • : Grant IDRO 4826/1-1
  • : Project Title
  • : FunderGerman-Israeli Foundation for Scientific Research and Development
  • : Grant IDG-1119
  • : Project Title

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