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Status Characteristics/Expectation States Theory

When members of juries, project teams, or study groups differ by gender, race or ethnicity, or even physical attractiveness, how do these differences affect members' conduct? More generally, how does social status, the prestige one possesses based on one's differentially valued social distinctions, affect people's behavior during group encounters? Status characteristics theory (SCT), which is a part of the theoretical research program called expectation states theory, explains this group-level phenomenon. SCT describes the social-psychological process that produces a status hierarchy a rank order of people that is based on social prestige within certain kinds of groups. Knowing the particulars of SCT has allowed researchers to craft powerful intervention strategies designed to inhibit the deleterious effects of status inequalities. This entry describes how this line of ...

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