Cafe Sci // Charlotte Brand: Human Behaviour
What makes some people prestigious, and what makes some people dominant?
'Prestige' and 'dominance' are thought to be two distinct routes to gaining status and influence in human social hierarchies. Our research is concerned with how people come to be perceived as 'prestigious' or 'dominant' by other members of their group. We ran an experiment with 150 people from all over Cornwall, in teams of 5. The teams took part in a 'pub quiz' style activity, and rated various members of their team and community on scales of prestige and dominance. We will discuss the results of this experiment, including what it can tell us about who people pay attention to, when they pay attention to them, and why. Research into social hierarchies, including who people choose to learn from, helps us to better understand how information is transmitted through communities, who people trust, who they believe, and what information they pay attention to. This can have implications for people's political decisions, health and lifestyle choices, parenting decisions, and many other aspects of our modern lives in which we are swamped with constantly changing information.
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