1. Skilled workers more prone to mistakes when interrupted

    March 20, 2017 by Ashley

    From the Michigan State University press release:

    Expertise is clearly beneficial in the workplace, yet highly trained workers in some occupations could actually be at risk for making errors when interrupted, indicates a new study by two Michigan State University psychology researchers.

    The reason: Experienced workers are generally faster at performing procedural tasks, meaning their actions are more closely spaced in time and thus more confusable when they attempt to recall where to resume a task after being interrupted.

    “Suppose a nurse is interrupted while preparing to give a dose of medication and then must remember whether he or she administered the dose,” said Erik Altmann, lead investigator on the project. “The more experienced nurse will remember less accurately than a less-practiced nurse, other things being equal, if the more experienced nurse performs the steps involved in administering medication more quickly.”

    That’s not to say skilled nurses should avoid giving medication, but only that high skill levels could be a risk factor for increased errors after interruptions and that experts who perform a task quickly and accurately have probably figured out strategies for keeping their place in a task, said Altmann, who collaborated with fellow professor Zach Hambrick.

    Their study, funded by the Office of Naval Research, is published online in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General.

    For the experiment, 224 people performed two sessions of a computer-based procedural task on separate days. Participants were interrupted randomly by a simple typing task, after which they had to remember the last step they performed to select the correct step to perform next.

    In the second session, people became faster, and on most measures, more accurate, Altmann said. After interruptions, however, they became less accurate, making more errors by resuming the task at the wrong spot.

    “The faster things happen, the worse we remember them,” Altmann said, adding that when workers are interrupted in the middle of critical procedures, as in emergency rooms or intensive care units, they may benefit from training and equipment design that helps them remember where they left off.


  2. Values gap in workplace can lead millennials to look elsewhere

    March 19, 2017 by Ashley

    From the University of Missouri-Columbia press release:

    Much has been made in popular culture about millennials as they join the working world, including their tendency to job hop. Although this behavior often is explained as a loyalty issue, new research from the University of Missouri reveals one reason young workers choose to leave a firm is because they find a disconnect between their beliefs and the culture they observe in the workplace.

    “We were interested in workers’ values regarding sustainability and corporate sustainability practices and whether a gap existed,” said Rachel LoMonaco-Benzing, a doctoral student in the MU College of Human Environmental Sciences. “Not only did we find a gap, but we also found that workers were much more likely to leave a job if they felt their values were not reflected in the workplace.”

    For the study, LoMonaco-Benzing and Jung Ha-Brookshire, an associate professor of textile and apparel management and associate dean of research and graduate studies in the MU College of Human Environmental Sciences, interviewed employees in the textile and apparel industry involved in corporate supply chains. They found that workers expressed the most frustration if their employers touted a commitment to environmental sustainability publicly but did not follow through substantively in areas such as:

    • Materials selection, including the use of recycled materials
    • Proper management of pollutants, including chemicals and dyes
    • Working conditions in textile factories
    • Product packaging, distribution and marketing to consumers

    “Fewer people of this generation are just looking for a paycheck,” Ha-Brookshire said. “They have been raised with a sense of pro-social, pro-environment values, and they are looking to be engaged. If they find that a company doesn’t honor these values and contributions, many either will try to change the culture or find employment elsewhere.”

    To ensure a good fit with a potential employer, the researchers recommend that job seekers speak with current and former employees at various levels of the organization, asking questions about areas that are particularly important to them, such as sustainability, work-life balance policies or community partnerships.

    Conversely, in order to attract and retain the best employees, the researchers encourage companies to understand that the new generation of workers have high ethical and social expectations. Being transparent with potential employees about corporate culture can head-off some frustration, they said. In addition, giving employees the opportunity to shape cultural decisions through membership on committees and outreach efforts will help to increase morale.

    “I think this is another sign to the industry that business as usual is not going to work if you want to attract and retain these valuable workers,” Ha-Brookshire said.

    The study, “Sustainability as Social Contract: Textile and Apparel Professionals’ Value Conflicts within the Corporate Moral Responsibility Spectrum,” was published in the journal Sustainability.


  3. Employers need to do more to encourage staff to switch off at home

    January 9, 2017 by Ashley

    From the British Psychological Society (BPS) media release:

    Computer UserLess than half of UK businesses and organisations provide employees with guidance on how to switch off from work when they go home.

    This is one of the findings from a survey conducted by Dr. Almuth McDowall (Birkbeck, University of London) and Professor Gail Kinman (University of Bedfordshire) who will present their results today, Friday 6 January 2017, at the British Psychological Society’s Division of Occupational Psychology annual conference being held in Liverpool.

    Dr Gail Kinman said: “From January 1st, French workers have the right to disconnect from email to avoid the intrusion of work into their private lives and protect them against burnout. We wanted to know what are UK organisations doing to protect employees against the risks of being always on?”

    Over 370 UK organisations across a range of sectors took part in the survey. Findings revealed that less than 50 per cent of organisations surveyed provided their employees with guidance on how to switch off. Surprisingly, more than half also had no formal policies in place to help their employees balance work demands with personal life in general.

    While some respondents acknowledged that using devices such as smartphones could improve communication at work and boost productivity (24 per cent), the negative effects of technology on relationships at work (21 per cent) and wellbeing (27 per cent)) were also highlighted.

    Dr Gail Kinman commented: “Our findings clearly show that organisations are not helping their staff accommodate to the changing world of work which is likely to have a negative impact on their wellbeing, their work-life balance and their effectiveness. Many individuals we surveyed clearly feel under great pressure not to switch off, leading to intense pressure, poorer performance and worry about what the immediate future holds.

    “It’s time to take a more proactive approach to helping employees and organisations become more ‘e-resilient’ and to manage technology in a more healthy and sustainable way.”


  4. Female scientists collaborate differently from their male counterparts

    November 9, 2016 by Ashley

    From the PLOS media release:

    lab_researchSucceeding in the male-dominated science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines can be very challenging for female faculty. Now, a Northwestern University study of the collaboration patterns of STEM faculty publishing 4 November in the open-access journal PLOS Biology has found that the playing fields in some disciplines are not as level as they first appear.

    “Our findings in molecular biology, particularly genomics, are what surprised us the most,” said Luís Amaral, a professor of chemical and biological engineering in the McCormick School of Engineering. “There is a lot of research money in this high-profile area, and women are not represented proportionally. This raises all sorts of questions as to what kind of cultural environment has been created in the field.”

    Knowing that collaboration is critical to the scientific enterprise, Amaral and Teresa K. Woodruff, a Northwestern Medicine reproductive biologist, focused on this factor in their study of the underrepresented group of female faculty in STEM. The data analysis of the complete publication records of nearly 4,000 faculty members in six STEM disciplines at top research universities across the USA produced a number of findings.

    The researchers found that, broadly speaking, female faculty (for the six different disciplines in the study) have as many collaborators, or co-authors, as male faculty and that female faculty tend to return to the same collaborators a little less than males. Previous research by Amaral had shown that novel collaborations have a greater likelihood of producing work of higher impact.

    However, those aggregate patterns have to be interpreted with care, Amaral cautioned, because the situation can change within subdisciplines. By digging deeper, the researchers found that females are underrepresented in large teams in genomics (a subdiscipline of molecular biology). This could be an indication of a negative cultural milieu in this particular subfield, the researchers said.

    “We want to understand ways in which males and females live different experiences in STEM disciplines, so that a level playing field can be created where needed,” Woodruff said.

    “Much more progress needs to be made for underrepresented groups to feel welcomed in STEM disciplines,” Amaral said. “In fact, the degree of progress is not even uniform within a single discipline, so one needs to make sure females are not being excluded from specific subdisciplines.”

    In an accompanying Primer, “Rosalind’s Ghost: Biology, Collaboration, and the Female,” also publishing 4 November, Caroline Wagner of Ohio State University, who was not involved in the study, sets this work in context. “One factor remains fairly constant: women are underrepresented in terms of authorships, including first and/or last authorships (whichever is more prestigious), coauthorships, and in the granting of scientific prizes,” she writes.

    “Overall, the more elite the scientist, the more likely they are to work at the international level; however, female collaborators are less likely to be working internationally and are more likely to collaborate locally. This means that they are also less likely to coauthor with top scholars.” Wagner notes that previous studies and the new findings from Amaral’s group serve to remind us that the legacy of Rosalind Franklin, whose crucial work on the structure of the DNA double helix over 60 years ago was notoriously underappreciated at the time, lives on.


  5. Want to exercise more? Get yourself some competition

    by Ashley

    From the University of Pennsylvania media release:

    battle_sexesImagine you’re a CEO trying to get your employees to mg{exercise}. Most health incentive programs have an array of tools — pamphlets, websites, pedometers, coaching, team activities, step challenges, money — but what actually motivates people? Is it social support? Competition? Teamwork? Corporate leaders often try a little bit of everything.

    A new study published in the journal Preventative Medicine Reports from the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania found these efforts should hone in on one area: Competition. It was a far stronger motivation for exercise than friendly support, and in fact, giving people such support actually made them less likely to go to the gym less than simply leaving them alone.

    “Most people think that when it comes to social media more is better,” says Damon Centola, an associate professor in Penn’s Annenberg School and the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, and senior author on the paper. “This study shows that isn’t true: When social media is used the wrong way, adding social support to an online health program can backfire and make people less likely to choose healthy behaviors. However, when done right, we found that social media can increase people’s fitness dramatically.”

    For this research, Centola and Jingwen Zhang, Ph.D., lead paper author and recent Annenberg graduate, recruited nearly 800 Penn graduate and professional students to sign up for an 11-week exercise program called “PennShape.” The federally funded, university-wide fitness initiative created by Centola and Zhang provided Penn students with weekly exercise classes in the University fitness center, fitness mentoring, and nutrition advice, all managed through a website the researchers built. After program completion, the students who attended the most exercise classes for activities like running, spinning, yoga, and weight lifting, among others, won prizes.

    What the participants didn’t know was that the researchers had split them into four groups to test how different kinds of social networks affected their exercise levels. The four groups were: individual competition, team support, team competition, and a control group.

    In the individual group, participants could see exercise leaderboards listing anonymous program members, and earned prizes based on their own success attending classes. For each team group, participants were assigned to a unit. In the team support group, they could chat online and encourage team members to exercise, with rewards going to the most successful teams with the most class attendance. In addition, those in the team competition group could see a leaderboard of other teams and their team standing. Participants in the control group could use the website and go to any class, but were not given any social connections on the website; prizes in this group were based on individual success taking classes.

    Overwhelmingly, competition motivated participants to exercise the most, with attendance rates 90% higher in the competitive groups than in the control group. Both team and individual competition equally drove the students to work out, with participants in the former taking a mean of 38.5 classes a week and those in the latter taking 35.7. Members of the control group went to the gym far less often, on average 20.3 times a week.

    The biggest surprise came in the number of workouts a week by members of the team support group: Just 16.8, on average — half the exercise rate of the competitive groups.

    “Framing the social interaction as a competition can create positive social norms for exercising,” Zhang says, now an assistant professor at the University of California, Davis. “Social support can make people more dependent on receiving messages, which can change the focus of the program.”

    How organizations use social media can affect how receptive people are to online signals, explains Centola, an expert on social networks and diffusion.

    Supportive groups can backfire because they draw attention to members who are less active, which can create a downward spiral of participation,” Centola says. In the competitive groups, however, people who exercise the most give off the loudest signal. “Competitive groups frame relationships in terms of goal-setting by the most active members. These relationships help to motivate exercise because they give people higher expectations for their own levels of performance.”

    Competition triggers a social ratcheting-up process, he adds. “In a competitive setting, each person’s activity raises the bar for everyone else. Social support is the opposite: a ratcheting-down can happen. If people stop exercising, it gives permission for others to stop, too, and the whole thing can unravel fairly quickly.”

    The positive effects of social competition go beyond exercise, to encouraging healthy behaviors such as medication compliance, diabetes control, smoking cessation, flu vaccinations, weight loss, and preventative screening, as well as pro-social behaviors like voting, recycling, and lowering power consumption.

    “Social media is a powerful tool because it can give people new kinds of social influences right in their own home,” Centola says. “Lifestyle changes are hard to make, but if you can give people the right kinds of social tools to help them do it, there’s a lot of good that can be done at relatively little cost.


  6. Online social media use does not impair our ability to concentrate

    October 19, 2016 by Ashley

    From the Inderscience Publishers media release:

    tablet computerUsing online social media does not lead to long-term problems with our ability to concentrate, according to new research published in the International Journal Social Media and Interactive Learning Environments.

    We are social animals, so it is really no surprise that billions of us now use online tools to communicate, educate and inform each other. The advent of social media and social networking has nevertheless been phenomenally rapid. “These networks have become an imprint of our everyday life and part of pop culture, revolutionizing the way people communicate and in the way organizations act, says Deborah Carstens of the Florida Institute of Technology.”With the abundance of technological devices, an increasing number of users of all ages rely on technology and specifically social media.”

    There are, however, worries about the impact such tools have on our psyche and our ability to concentrate, for instance. Now research from Carstens’ team and their colleagues at Barry University also in Florida, demonstrates that despite the often skittish and transient nature of online social interactions there is no difference to be seen in the attention span or “offline” sociability of occasional users and frequent users of online social media. These modern communication tools do not, it seems, interfere with our primal instincts, such as long-term attitudes, time appreciation, and concentration, in the way that many critics have suggested in recent years.

    “Social media is not a fad as it continues to play an increasing role in the individuals’ lives. Understanding how to utilize this social media epidemic to enhance learning, relationships and business knowledge is essential as individuals are spending an increasing amount of time on these networks,” the researchers conclude.


  7. How workplace stress contributes to cardiovascular disease

    September 21, 2016 by Ashley

    From the University of California, Irvine media release:

    stressed seniorUniversity of California, Irvine and SUNY Downstate Medical Center researchers have created a model illustrating how economic globalization may create stressful employment factors in high-income countries contributing to the worldwide epidemic of cardiovascular disease.

    Dr. Peter Schnall and Marnie Dobson with UCI and Dr. Paul Landsbergis with SUNY Downstate published their findings online in the current edition of the International Journal of Health Services in the article titled “Globalization, Work and Cardiovascular Disease.”

    Cardiovascular disease, a global epidemic, is responsible for about 30 percent of all deaths worldwide. While mortality rates from CVD have been mostly declining in the advanced industrialized nations, some risk factors — including hypertension, obesity, and diabetes — have been on the increase everywhere. Researchers investigating the social causes of CVD have produced a robust body of evidence documenting the effect of the work environment, including through the mechanisms of psychosocial job stressors. These stressors can produce chronic biologic responses like hypertension and promote unhealthy behaviors, which increase CVD risk.

    The researchers also offer a theoretical model that illustrates how economic globalization influences the labor market and work organization in high-income countries, which in turn exacerbates job characteristics, such as unreasonable demands, low job control, effort-reward imbalance, job insecurity and long hours.

    “Given the high costs of medical treatment and the economic impact on employers and society of ill health, lost productivity, and sickness absence, it is in the interest of all to seriously consider improving work organization,” said Landsbergis, an associate professor in the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences in the School of Public Health at SUNY Downstate.

    The authors make the following recommendations:

    • Implement national surveillance of occupations, industries and workplaces to identify elevated levels of hazardous work characteristics;
    • Pass regulations and laws limiting psychosocial stressors on the job;
    • Establish upper limits of weekly and yearly work hours (to reduce CVD risk);
    • Mandate vacation time for all employees to facilitate recovery;
    • Pass regulations to mandate a “living wage” that provides sufficient support so that workers are not forced to work excessively long hours;
    • And pass legislation that increases the economic security of precarious workers.

    “We conclude from more than 30 years of epidemiological research that CVD is a disease of modern industrial society and not the natural result of aging,” said Schnall, who is with UCI’s Center for Occupational and Environmental Health and a clinical professor of medicine and public health. “It is related to forms of production that emerged with industrialization and that have expanded with economic globalization: long work hours, repetitive work, high demands, lack of control, long hours, and job insecurity.”

    Global economic policies and the rise of the new flexible labor market have caused an increase in precarious employment in advanced industrialized countries,” added Dobson, an assistant adjunct professor in Center for Occupational and Environmental Health. “These work stressors in turn contribute to CVD risk factors such as obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure.””

     


  8. When it comes to empathy, don’t always trust your gut

    August 9, 2016 by Ashley

    From the American Psychological Association (APA) media release:

    thinking_hmmIs empathy the result of gut intuition or careful reasoning? Research published by the American Psychological Association suggests that, contrary to popular belief, the latter may be more the case.

    Cultivating successful personal and professional relationships requires the ability to accurately infer the feelings of others — that is, to be empathically accurate. Some are better at this than others, a difference that may be explained in part by mode of thought,” said Jennifer Lerner, PhD, of Harvard University, a co-author of the study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. “Until now, however, little was known about which mode of thought, intuitive versus systematic, offers better accuracy in perceiving another’s feelings.”

    Individuals process information and make decisions in different ways, according to Lerner. Some choose to follow their instincts and go with what feels right to them (i.e., intuitive) while others plan carefully and analyze the information available to them before deciding (i.e., systematic).

    Lerner and her co-author, Christine Ma-Kellams, PhD, of the University of La Verne, conducted four studies, involving over 900 participants, to examine the relationship between the two modes of thought and empathetic accuracy. The first determined that most people believe that intuition is a better guide than systematic thinking to accurately infer another’s thoughts and feelings. The other three studies found that the opposite is true.

    Importantly, three out of the four studies presented here relied on actual professionals and managers. This sample represents a highly relevant group for which to test empathic accuracy, given the importance of empathic accuracy for a host of workplace outcomes, including negotiations, worker satisfaction and workplace performance,” said Ma-Kellams.

    These findings are important because they show that commonly held assumptions about what makes someone a good emotional mind reader may be wrong, said Lerner. “The many settings in which the value of intuition is extolled — for example a job interview — may need to be reassessed with a more nuanced perspective.


  9. Study offers explanation for why women leave engineering

    June 16, 2016 by Ashley

    From the Massachusetts Institute of Technology media release:

    teacher meditating womanWomen who go to college intending to become engineers stay in the profession less often than men. Why is this? While multiple reasons have been offered in the past, a new study co-authored by an MIT sociologist develops a novel explanation: The negative group dynamics women tend to experience during team-based work projects makes the profession less appealing.

    More specifically, the study finds, women often feel marginalized, especially during internships, other summer work opportunities, or team-based educational activities. In those situations, gender dynamics seem to generate more opportunities for men to work on the most challenging problems, while women tend to be assigned routine tasks or simple managerial duties.

    In such settings, “It turns out gender makes a big difference,” says Susan Silbey, the Leon and Anne Goldberg Professor of Humanities, Sociology, and Anthropology at MIT, and co-author of a newly-published paper detailing the study.

    As a result of their experiences at these moments, women who have developed high expectations for their profession — expecting to make a positive social impact as engineers — can become disillusioned with their career prospects.

    “It’s a cultural phenomenon,” adds Silbey, regarding the way this group-dynamics problem crops up at a variety of key points during students’ training.

    The paper, titled “Persistence is Cultural: Professional Socialization and the Reproduction of Sex Segregation,” appears in the latest print issue of the journal Work and Occupations. The co-authors are Silbey, who is the corresponding author; Carroll Seron, a professor at the University of California at Irvine; Erin Cech, an assistant professor at the University of Michigan; and Brian Rubineau, an associate professor at McGill University.

    “Menial tasks” instead of “all the fun”

    Overall, about 20 percent of undergraduate engineering degrees are awarded to women, but only 13 percent of the engineering workforce is female. Numerous explanations have been offered for this discrepancy, including a lack of mentorship for women in the field; a variety of factors that produce less confidence for female engineers; and the demands for women of maintaining a balance between work and family life.

    The current study does not necessarily preclude some of those other explanations, but it adds an additional element to the larger discussion.

    To conduct the study, the researchers asked more than 40 undergraduate engineering students to keep twice-monthly diaries. The students attended four institutions in Massachusetts: MIT, the Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering, Smith College, and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. That generated more than 3,000 individual diary entries that the scholars systematically examined.

    What emerges is a picture in which female engineering students are negatively affected at particular moments of their educational terms — especially when they engage in team-based activities outside the classroom, where, in a less structured environment, older gender roles re-emerge.

    This crops up frequently in the diary entries. To take an example, one student named Kimberly described an episode in a design class in which “two girls in a group had been working on the robot we were building in that class for hours, and the guys in their group came in and within minutes had sentenced them to doing menial tasks while the guys went and had all the fun in the machine shop. We heard the girls complaining about it. … ”

    Or, as the paper puts it, “Informal interactions with peers and everyday sexism in teams and internships are particularly salient building blocks of [gender] segregation.” The researchers add: “For many women, their first encounter with collaboration is to be treated in gender stereotypical ways.” And by contrast, as the researchers note in the paper, “Almost without exception, we find that the men interpret the experience of internships and summer jobs as a positive experience.”

    Such experiences lead to a problem involving what the researchers call “anticipatory socialization.” The women in the study, Silbey and her colleagues observed, are more likely than men to say they are entering the field of engineering with the explicit idea that it will be a “socially responsible” profession that will “make a difference in people’s lives.” But group dynamics seem to affect this specific expectation in two ways: by leading women to question whether other professions could be a better vehicle for affecting positive social change, and by leading them to question if their field has a “commitment to a socially conscious agenda that … was a key motivator for them in the first place.”

    Changes beyond the classroom

    As Silbey observes, the findings suggest that engineering’s gender gap is not precisely rooted in the engineering curriculum or the classroom, which have often been the focus of past scrutiny in this area.

    “We think engineering education is quite successful by its own standards,” Silbey says. Moreover, she adds, “The teaching environment is for the most part very successful.”

    That means some new kinds of remedies could be explored, which might have a positive impact on women’s experiences as engineers in training. For instance, as Silbey has previously recommended, institutions could develop “directed internship seminars,” in which student internship experiences could be dissected to help many people grasp and learn from the problems women face.

    In this vein, Silbey adds, whatever other components education may have, it is useful to remember that “education is a process of socialization.”


  10. Vocal signals reveal intent to dominate or submit, study finds

    April 18, 2016 by Ashley

    From the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign media release:

    meeting circle canstockphoto1828283You may not win friends, but a new study finds that you can influence people simply by lowering the pitch of your voice in the first moments of a conversation.

    The study, reported in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, found that people whose voices went down in pitch early on in an interaction were more likely to be seen as dominant and influential than those whose vocal pitch went up early in conversation. Those viewed as dominant also were more likely to convince others to go along with their ideas than those seen as less dominant.

    In another report based on the same data, the researchers found that dominant participants were not considered more prestigious, esteemed or admirable by their peers, however. Those judged to be admirable — but not dominant — also tended to excel at influencing others, the researchers found.

    “What excites me about this research is that we now know a little bit more about how humans use their voices to signal status,” said University of Illinois psychology professor Joey Cheng, who led the research with colleagues at the University of British Columbia and Harvard University. “In the past, we focused a lot on posture and tended to neglect things like the voice. But this study clearly shows that there’s something about the voice that’s very interesting and very effective as a channel of dynamically communicating status.”

    In the first of two experiments, 191 participants (ages 17 to 52) individually ranked the importance of 15 items they were told they might need to survive a disaster on the moon. They then worked in small groups on the same task. The researchers videotaped these interactions and used phonetic analysis software to measure the fundamental frequency of each utterance. They also looked at “how one person’s answers converged with the group’s final answer” as another way to measure influence, Cheng said.

    The study participants and outsiders viewing their interactions tended to rate those whose voices deepened between their first and third utterances as more dominant and influential than participants whose voices went up in pitch. None of the subjects or the outside observers was aware that the study focused on the relationship between vocal cues and status.

    Those viewed as dominant and those viewed as prestigious were most influential in the group interactions, Cheng said.

    “In fact, what we’ve found previously is that both of these strategies — prestige and dominance — positively correlate with behavioral influence,” she said. “Both are effective pathways to getting there. But only dominance is about fear and intimidation, and only dominance is related in this study to changes in the pitch of one’s voice. How you change your voice does not appear to be related to how much respect you win.”

    In a second experiment, researchers asked 274 participants (ages 15 to 61) to listen to a pair of audio recordings of a person making three statements. The recording was manipulated to either increase or decrease the pitch of the voice between the first and third statements. Each participant listened to both recordings, which varied only in the trajectory of their vocal pitch.

    They don’t get to see anything or anyone, and they just make judgments about the person in the recordings,” Cheng said. “And we found that when the voice in the recording goes down in pitch, people judge the person as wanting to be more influential, more powerful, more intimidating or more domineering. But they don’t think the person is interested in gaining more respect.

    “What’s really fascinating about status is that regardless of which groups you look at and what culture and in what context, what inevitably happens is that people divide themselves into leaders and followers, and there’s a hierarchy that’s involved,” Cheng said. “Our study adds to the evidence that humans, like many other animals, use their voices to signal and assert dominance over others.