Since people with low status are more likely to experience social evaluative threat and are therefore more inclined to monitor for these threats and inhibit approach behaviour, we expected that low-status subjects would be more engaged in evaluating their own performance, compared with high-status subjects. We created a highly salient social hierarchy based on the performance of a simple time estimation task. Subjects could achieve high, middle or low status while performing this task simultaneously with other two players who were either higher or lower in status. Subjects received feedback on their own performance, as well as on the performance of the other two players simultaneously. Electroencephalography (EEG) was recorded from all three participants. The results showed that medial frontal negativity (an event-related potential reflecting performance evaluation) was significantly enhanced for low-status subjects. Implications for status-related differences in goal-directed behaviour are discussed.

, , , , ,,
ERIM Article Series (EAS)
Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience (Online)
Erasmus Research Institute of Management

Boksem, M., Kostermans, E., Milivojevic, B., & de Cremer, D. (2012). Social status determines how we monitor and evaluate our performance. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience (Online), 2011, 1–10. doi:10.1093/scan/nsr010