Departmental Papers (ASC)

Document Type

Journal Article

Date of this Version

4-15-2012

Publication Source

Neuroimage

Volume

60

Issue

3

Start Page

1771

Last Page

1777

DOI

10.1016/j.neuroimage.2012.01.080

Abstract

The current research explored the neural mechanisms linking social status to perceptions of the social world. Two fMRI studies provide converging evidence that individuals lower in social status are more likely to engage neural circuitry often involved in ‘mentalizing’ or thinking about others' thoughts and feelings. Study 1 found that college students' perception of their social status in the university community was related to neural activity in the mentalizing network (e.g., DMPFC, MPFC, precuneus/PCC) while encoding social information, with lower social status predicting greater neural activity in this network. Study 2 demonstrated that socioeconomic status, an objective indicator of global standing, predicted adolescents' neural activity during the processing of threatening faces, with individuals lower in social status displaying greater activity in the DMPFC, previously associated with mentalizing, and the amygdala, previously associated with emotion/salience processing. These studies demonstrate that social status is fundamentally and neurocognitively linked to how people process and navigate their social worlds.

Copyright/Permission Statement

© 2012. This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license

Keywords

social status, SES, mentalizing, fMRI

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Date Posted: 23 May 2016

This document has been peer reviewed.