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Publications [#48802] of Jorgianne I. Hicks

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  1. Robinson, J. C., Powell, J. A. J., & Smith, R. H. (February, 2006). Further Deconfounding the Sociometer: Examining the Relationship Between Ranking and Relational Evaluation. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, Palm Springs, CA.
    (last updated on 2006/08/29)

    The sociometer approach to understanding self-esteem presents that people’s feelings of self-worth serve as a barometer for how relationally-valued they are in the important groups to which they belong. There undoubtedly exists a natural confound between rank on valued attributes and the likelihood of being accepted by a group, however. One could argue that people who do not rank highly on at least one valued attribute remain vulnerable to experiencing relational devaluation. Furthermore, people who believe that they have no attribute that provides high ranking will feel like imposters even if group members accept them. We investigated the influence of inclusionary status on state self-esteem as a function of ranking status in two studies. In these studies, college student participants received false ranking feedback on academic and social intelligence tests. Then, they were either included or excluded by group members for a later activity. We predicted that inclusionary feedback would interact with ranking status such that high-ranking participants who were included would report the highest levels of state self-esteem. Moreover, low-ranking participants who were included despite their inferior status would evidence an “imposter” effect, reporting lower state self-esteem than excluded participants. Across both studies, state self-esteem was influenced by both ranking and inclusionary conditions. Though the predicted interaction effect was not revealed, rejection reduced the self-esteem of high-ranking participants and acceptance increased the self-esteem of low-ranking participants. Future studies will focus on the “imposter” effect by exploring how it may depend on performance expectations, and how it may be alleviated.

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