Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Social class and social potency

A social potency score was calculated for MIDUS Study participants based on the following items: is forceful and decisive; is persuasive and likes to influence others; enjoys or would enjoy leadership roles; enjoys being noticed, being the center of attention. Here are the means by sex and social class:

Mean social potency score

Males (n = 443)
Low 9.68*
Middle 10.19*
High 10.63*

Females (n = 745)
Low 8.86
Middle 9.69*
High 10.09*

*significantly higher than low-status females

All groups are significantly more socially potent than lower-class women. The mean for high-status men is more than four-tenths of an standard deviation (sd) higher than the mean for low-status men--a moderate difference. And the gap between low- and high-status women is also of moderate size--one-half of an sd.

According to this study, the heritability of social potency is 55 percent.

So folks from higher classes are more dominant than others. Just like the last post about high-status people being more driven, this is no surprise. But to extreme nurturists (i.e., just about every professor I ever had) where you end up in the stratification system has little or nothing to do with innate abilities or personality traits. IQ is only a proxy for parents' social class. People are chameleons who adopt the personality of their social position.   

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