The allure of status: High-status targets are privileged in face processing and memory

Nathaniel J. Ratcliff, Kurt Hugenberg, Edwin R. Shriver, Michael Jason Bernstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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The current research tests the hypothesis that face processing is attuned to high-status faces. Across three experiments, faces of high-status targets were better recognized than faces of low-status targets. In Experiment 2, this memory advantage for high-status targets also extended to an attentional bias toward high-status targets and to stronger sociospatial memory (identity-location link) for high-status targets. Finally, Experiment 3 finds that high-status faces received more expert-style holistic processing than did low-status faces. This suggests that high-status faces also benefit more from the strategic deployment of expert face processing resources than low-status faces. Taken together, these data indicate that perceivers strategically allocate face processing resources to targets perceived to be high in status.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1003-1015
Number of pages13
JournalPersonality and Social Psychology Bulletin
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1 2011


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology

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