The scorn of status: A bias toward perceiving anger on high-status faces

Nathaniel J. Ratcliff, Robert G. Franklin, Anthony J. Nelson, Theresa K. Vescio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


The expression of anger is an important signal of both danger and threat to social relationships. Furthermore, anger expressed by high-status people should be especially apparent due to the fact that high-status people may be perceived as more able to act on their intentions than low-status people. In the current research, we test the hypothesis that a perceiver will be biased toward anger appearing on the face of a high-status compared to a low-status face. Using an emotion detection task across two experiments, our findings revealed that White participants perceived anger to persist longer (Study 1) and appear sooner (Study 2) on the faces of high-status compared to low-status targets. This suggests that social context, in general, and social status (as indicated by occupation), in particular, can influence the perception of anger.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)631-642
Number of pages12
JournalSocial Cognition
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


Dive into the research topics of 'The scorn of status: A bias toward perceiving anger on high-status faces'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this