SEARCH

SEARCH BY CITATION

This article reports two experiments on the effects of status and the status distribution on performance. Grade-school children were randomly assigned a label denoting high status or one denoting low status and then randomly assigned to small groups where they were the only ones of their status or where only one child had a status different from theirs. After completing a group task, the children individually took an anagram test, which served as the performance measure. Consistent with research on the effects of social status, in both experiments children with high status performed significantly better on the anagram test than did children with low status. More important, there were significant status by status distribution interactions. Performance among low-status children was even lower if their status was relatively uncommon than if it was relatively common, whereas performance by high-status children was either unaffected (Experiment 1) or enhanced (Experiment 2) if their status was relatively uncommon. The discussion centers on implications of the results for research and theory on tokenism and perceptions of the prevalence of status characteristics.