Neuroimaging Investigations of Social Status and Social Hierarchies


Status-based hierarchical influences are believed to be of great consequence and guide much of the social interactions among animals and humans alike. Nevertheless, the impact of social status on human brain structures and functions has received relatively little attention, possibly as a consequence of challenges associated with defining this multifaceted construct. This chapter presents brain imaging investigations and explores how our own social status shapes us and how the social status of others shapes our responses to them. We first examine available evidence of the influence of social status on brain structure and cognitive development. We then review some of the recent functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) investigations on the impact of social status on how we construe others. Finally, we present fMRI experiments demonstrating how individual differences in social status shape how we respond to others.

Neuroimaging Personality, Social Cognition, and Character