Bradley Mattan, PhD
Postdoctoral Researcher, Annenberg School of Communication
University of Pennsylvania
A multi-method approach to how perceiver gender shapes status-based evaluations
Men are especially motivated to achieve social and economic influence. However, the mate selection literature suggests women may perceive high status more favorably than men. We tested these competing hypotheses using a multi-method approach. In an fMRI study on impression formation (n=66), men (vs. women) showed greater responses to high-status targets in regions of interest involved in positive social evaluations (VMPFC, ventral striatum). Men also preferentially recruited a functional network of regions involved in salience and attention when forming impressions of high-status targets. In a separate analysis of a stratified Project Implicit sample (n=175), we found that being wealthy increased men’s implicit pro-rich bias more so than for women. In a registered report (in revision at stage 1) relying on pilot data from the present study, we will attempt to replicate the Project Implicit findings in a larger hold-out dataset (n>1000). In sum, these findings add to the literature illustrating that normative implicit positive associations with the rich are nonetheless labile. Specifically, men appear to implicitly weight perceived status more heavily than women.