It's all relative: Competition and status drive interpersonal perception



Structural features of interpersonal relationships, particularly competition and status, can cause people, respectively, to (dis)like and (dis)respect each other, although they think they are reacting to the target's personality. Two studies manipulate structural relationships between students in a 2 × 2 between-participants design. Competition and status, respectively, differentiate perceptions of the target's warmth and competence. In Study 1's pre–post design, the pre- and post-interaction warmth, but status affected only pre-interaction competence. Study 2 post-interaction-only design did replicate both of Study 1's pre-interaction results. Competing targets were judged less warm than cooperating targets; high-status targets were judged more competent than low-status targets. These experiments demonstrate the structural predictors of the intergroup stereotype content model at the interpersonal level. Copyright © 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.