Fragale with high status is perceived as warm

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Fragale et al., suggested that there is a relationship between status and perceived warmth. Working from these findings this report searches for a relationship between status and perceived warmth and gender and perceived warmth. Participants were asked to read an excerpt about ‘L’ and judge ‘L’s warmth on a scale. The data from this research showed high status was associated with high warmth and low status was associated with low warmth. Gender did not have any effect on perceived warmth scores.


The Collins Dictionary’s definition is “someone who has warmth is friendly and enthusiastic in their behaviour towards other people.” (, 2018). Fragale et al., carried out research that indicated that an individual with high status is perceived as warm no matter what power level, and an individual with high power and low status is perceived as cold. They conducted two experiments. In the first there was 100 participants, undergraduate students from the US, 43% were male and 57% were female. They were asked to rate job occupations on whether they were likely to possess dominant and warm characteristics. It was found that individuals with higher status were correctly predicted to receive higher perceived warmth compared to higher power that was negatively associated with perceived warmth. In the second experiment, they improved their method by manipulating “the power and status of a fictional individual” (Fragale, Overbeck and Neale, 2011) rather than using the job occupations from the first experiment. 114 undergraduate students from a US university took part in this experiment, 42% were male and 58% were female. They were asked to rate fictional character ‘L’ on a scale on warmth and dominance. The data from the second experiment supported the results from the first, high power/high status were perceived as dominant and warm, high status/low power were perceived as very warm, low status/high power was perceived as dominant and cold, and low status/low power were submissive and warm. The present research suggests that individuals who are perceived as high status will have high warmth scores, and individuals perceived as lower status will have low warmth scores (Hypothesis 1).


A study conducted by Klatt et al., suggests that females are judged on their competence and warmth in the workplace and in interviews dependant on their style. This study focused on women only because a man’s style in the workplace is less variable. Unless he does not follow the company dress code there will be no correlation between style choice, and competency and warmth. 354 participants (212 female, 142 male) aged between 18 and 55, took part in an online questionnaire. They were shown different conditions of a woman dressed in a style (loose hair, no makeup, trousers. Or braided hair, makeup, skirt etc.) and asked a set of questions to decide how competent and how warm the person is. Women wearing makeup were considered more competent than without makeup. Loose hair and no makeup were shown to be the warmest condition. This study doesn’t focus on the perceived warmth of an individual but instead focuses on competency and how likely the individual would be to hire. However, it’s important to note that women are being judged on perceived warmth and competency based on style choices whereas men are not (or are less). This could produce a difference in perceived warmth between the two genders. The present research suggests that there will be a relationship between gender and perceived warmth (Hypothesis 2).

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Perceived warmth is an important trait to have, Lin et al., 2011 suggests that “there is a consensus in the person perception, personality, and group stereotype literatures that competence and warmth are fundamental dimensions of social judgement.” (Lin et al., 2011). This paper suggests that if an individual has a choice he will pursue a relationship with someone who is both competent and warm. However, if made to choose between competence and warmth Friske et al., suggests that individuals will choose someone who is warmer and less competent compared to someone who is more competent and less warm. If warmth is a trait that people judge and might be a deciding factor to why someone will start or continue a relationship (whether it be work or personal); it’s important to look at how people judge competence and warmth. This can be based on someone’s style like Klatt et al., or like Fragale and our study, based on someone’s status.






In total, the number of participants was 89, 78 of them were female, 10 were male, and one participant did not state their gender. The age range of the participants was between 19-49, the mean age of the participants was 21.57 (SD= 5.13). All participants were undergraduate psychology students living or studying in the U.K.



The research was conducted in an independent measures design, in each condition there were different participants. There were 6 conditions in total, 45 participants in the high-status condition and 43 in the low status condition. In the male condition there was 30 participants, in the female there was 30, and 28 in the unspecified condition.



The participants were asked in a class setting to read an extract about a fictional character, ‘L’ and answer a short questionnaire about ‘L’. Consent forms were filled out and participants were briefed about their right to withdraw. Participants were then given the extract and questionnaire to read and complete. The questionnaire asked participants to judge whether ‘L’ possessed certain qualities (e.g. cordial, disrespectful, impolite). They were asked the rate ‘L’ on a 5-point Likert scale from not at all (1) to very (5). The scores from this scale gave a warmth score between 8 and 40. Questions 5 to 8 on the questionnaire were reversed scored and added to the scores from questions 1-4 and a warmth score was produced.




The results from a Kolmogorov-Smirnov test and Levene test showed that the data had homogeneity of variance and normality. The Kolmogorov-Smirnov test showed normal distribution, (p>.05) a Levene test was also non-significant, (p=.303). A two-way independent analysis of variance was carried out 3 (unspecified, female, male) x 2 (high status, low status) design. It was found there was a significant effect of status on perceived warmth, F(1,83)=126.84, p<.001. The data showed that high status, (n=46) produced higher perceived warmth (M=32.98, SD=4.27), and low status (n=43) produced low perceived warmth (M=21.02, SD=5.7). The data however, did not show a significant effect of gender on perceived warmth, it also did not show a significant interaction between status and gender on perceived warmth, F(2, 83)=1.52, p=.225.   Discussion   The results show that status effects perceived warmth, providing further insight into status and warmth. Individuals with higher status were perceived to be warmer, and lower status perceived to be colder, suggesting we can accept hypothesis 1. However, no relationship was found between gender and perceived warmth, leading to reject hypothesis 2. Individuals with high status, compared with those in low status may have been perceived to be warmer because high status is often, "granted voluntarily by others, because of the status-holders desirable attributes and skills." (Fragale, Overbeck and Neale, 2011). These individuals have a good reputation and have earnt their high status, therefore they are expected to be warmer and have better interactions with members of society. There was no significant relationship between gender and perceived warmth, this could be due to the sample size, there were 78 females to 10 males not giving a fair range of participants. A larger sample with more gender variance may change the results. A suggestion of further research to validate this study in other situations where someone is judged on warmth and competency is recommended. A study similar to Klatt et al., whereby an individual is judged on how competent and warm they are based on appearance/style. Further research in another situation like personal writing or emails to judge someone on warmth is also recommended.     References:   Lin, W., Wang, J., Lin, H., Lin, H. and Johnson, B. (2011). When Low-Warmth Targets Are Liked: The Roles of Competence, Gender, and Relative Status. The Journal of Psychology, online 145(3), pp.247-265. Available at: Accessed 7 Jan. 2018.   Fragale, A., Overbeck, J. and Neale, M. (2011). Resources versus respect: Social judgments based on targets' power and status positions. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, online 47(4), pp.767-775. Available at: Accessed 7 Jan. 2018. (2018). Warmth definition and meaning | Collins English Dictionary. online Available at: Accessed 7 Jan. 2018.   Fiske, S. (2012). Managing Ambivalent Prejudices: Smart-but-cold and Warm-but-dumb stereotypes. The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 639, pp.33-48.

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