A conservation study of the causal relationship between social impact and social status

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Egan, David
Issue Date
Higher Diploma in Arts in Psychology
Dublin Business School
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Motivated by the idea that a heuristic use of the law of conservation of energy may inform an observer's cognitive construct of social hierarchies, this experiment examined the relationship between the observation of social impact and the attribution of social status. In an online study, 111 participants were randomly assigned to observe one of two videos in each of which, alternate targets administered the greater number of simulated shocks to the other in a sequence decided by chance. Status ratings for the targets were recorded within and between groups and while no causal relationship between social impact and social status was found, differences in gender trends and a mild conservation effect highlight the need for more research examining the influences of gender and controlled thought on social judgment.