Under the Influence

How power, status, and social hierarchy shape us.

Testosterone and Dominance

How do hormones relate to dominance behavior? The popular HBO series Game of Thrones provides some surprisingly accurate insights. Read More

Priming effect

"Varys' lack of testosterone shows in his appearance first and foremost. He is a quiet, high-pitched, and slightly pudgy man with round features."

That's a very caricature stereotype. I've never come across a grown man with a high-pitched voice, but I've met men with natural and extremely soft vocals, which made listening a chore and I felt badly asking them to repeat themselves over and over.

I think it's one thing to have testosterone, and another to be "primed" to dominate. I think children who get pushed into competitive sports, particularly "team" sports, and continue them into their adolescence and even early adulthood, have essentially been primed to exhibit and retain these competitive and dominating behaviors (ie. Virginia lacrosse player, Jerry Sandusky, OJ Simpson, Mike Tyson et al). Whereas children from lower-income households with no access to competitive sports, will less likely show competitiveness, yet the ones with high testosterone may be aggressive and violent instead.

I know people can be competitive in music, science, math art and other areas --- but "team" sports experiences appear to draw out the most aggressive nature in people...like gladiators? Just observe and recall the past riots at sports stadiums...which cost millions in damages to businesses and taxpayers.

Our society has many biases, most of which are based on our archaic primal natures, rather than rational and cooperative truths. I've noticed that more often than not, we prime the high testosterone types AND promote them to leadership positions -- they don't get high social status without people's help! And have you noticed, that the higher you go up -- the more GOOD LOOKING you need to be? LOL. Art imitates life, or life imitates art or both??? Are we looking at illusions? Stanton Peele also noticed that Mitt Romney's family is just way too perfect! I agree!

Romney is ugly

Romney is ugly though. He is proof that you can be unattractive and still succeed.

"Power, Status, and

"Power, Status, and Influence" wow, really? Is your class all psychopathic cluster B types?

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Michael W. Kraus is Assistant Professor of Social-Personality Psychology at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

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