Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

On The High Horse: Why Dominant Individuals Climb The Proverbial Ladder

Date:
April 24, 2008
Source:
Association for Psychological Science
Summary:
Psychological findings imply that a person's level of dominance could be measured based on their biases favoring vertical representations of power, as is the case in a hierarchy. In an attempt to grasp complex concepts, humans have tried to represent abstractions like power and dominance through visually-stimulated metaphors such as pyramids and steeples. And dominance especially has been measured socially, linguistically and artistically on a vertical dimension, as with upper and lower class divisions in hierarchical structures.

Psychological findings imply that a person's level of dominance could be measured based on their biases favoring vertical representations of power, as is the case in a hierarchy. In an attempt to grasp complex concepts, humans have tried to represent abstractions like power and dominance through visually-stimulated metaphors such as pyramids and steeples. And dominance especially has been measured socially, linguistically and artistically on a vertical dimension, as with upper and lower class divisions in hierarchical structures.

While this may be considered a commonly recognized phenomenon, it proved to be an under-researched theory until recently when psychologists from North Dakota State University found a method to understand personality processes through the measurement of metaphoric representations. Specifically, Sara Moeller, Michael Robinson and Darya Zabelina found that individuals high in dominance paid closer attention to stimuli in vertical positions than other participants.

The findings, which appear in the April 2008 issue of Psychological Science, imply that a person’s level of dominance could be measured based on their biases favoring vertical representations of power.

“Simply stated, more dominant individuals think in dominance-related terms to a greater extent than do less dominant individuals,” the authors wrote. “That is, their thoughts more often involve power, powerlessness and relative dominance.”

The scientists supported this theory using a simple computer program that prompted participants to press the ‘p’ or ‘q’ key when it appeared on the screen. The letters were displayed on the right, left, top or bottom part of the screen. Those individuals who responded quickly when the letters were on the top or bottom of the screen also had high scores in dominance on a personality inventory. The other participants did not show a significant preference for the vertically-arranged letters.

“Our results are among the first to establish the benefits of the metaphor representation perspective for understanding personality processes,” explained Moeller, “and they specifically suggest that thinking dominantly predisposes one to see vertically.”


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Association for Psychological Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Association for Psychological Science. "On The High Horse: Why Dominant Individuals Climb The Proverbial Ladder." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 April 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080423153322.htm>.
Association for Psychological Science. (2008, April 24). On The High Horse: Why Dominant Individuals Climb The Proverbial Ladder. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080423153322.htm
Association for Psychological Science. "On The High Horse: Why Dominant Individuals Climb The Proverbial Ladder." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080423153322.htm (accessed August 22, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Friday, August 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Lost Brain Cells To Blame For Sleep Problems Among Seniors

Lost Brain Cells To Blame For Sleep Problems Among Seniors

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) According to a new study, elderly people might have trouble sleeping because of the loss of a certain group of neurons in the brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Do More Wedding Guests Make A Happier Marriage?

Do More Wedding Guests Make A Happier Marriage?

Newsy (Aug. 20, 2014) A new study found couples who had at least 150 guests at their weddings were more likely to report being happy in their marriages. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Charter Schools Alter Post-Katrina Landscape

Charter Schools Alter Post-Katrina Landscape

AP (Aug. 20, 2014) Nine years after Hurricane Katrina, charter schools are the new reality of public education in New Orleans. The state of Louisiana took over most of the city's public schools after the killer storm in 2005. (Aug. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

AP (Aug. 19, 2014) Four Texas high school football programs are trying out an experimental system designed to diagnose concussions on the field. The technology is in response to growing concern over head trauma in America's most watched sport. (Aug. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins