Effects of dominance and prestige based social status on competition for attentional resources

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8 Citations (Scopus)


Social status can be attained through either dominance (coercion and intimidation) or prestige (skill and respect). Individuals high in either of these status pathways are known to more readily attract gaze and covert spatial attention compared to their low-status counterparts. However it is not known if social status biases allocation of attentional resources to competing stimuli. To address this issue, we used an attentional blink paradigm to explore non-spatial attentional biases in response to face stimuli varying in dominance and prestige. Results from a series of studies consistently indicated that participants were biased towards allocating attention to low- relative to high- dominance faces. We also observed no effects of manipulating prestige on attentional bias. We attribute our results to the workings of comparatively early processing stages, separate from those mediating spatial attention shifts, which are tuned to physical features associated with low dominance. These findings challenge our current understanding of the impact of social status on attentional competition.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2473
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2019


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