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Concept: Social status


How much do our choices represent stable inner preferences versus social conformity? We examine conformity and consistency in sartorial choices surrounding a common life event of new norm exposure: relocation. A large-scale dataset of individual purchases of women’s shoes (16,236 transactions) across five years and 2,007 women reveals a balance of conformity and consistency, moderated by changes in location socioeconomic status. Women conform to new local norms (i.e., average heel size) when moving to relatively higher status locations, but mostly ignore new local norms when moving to relatively lower status locations. In short, at periods of transition, it is the fashion norms of the rich that trickle down to consumers. These analyses provide the first naturalistic large-scale demonstration of the tension between psychological conformity and consistency, with real decisions in a highly visible context.

Concepts: Socioeconomic status, Sociology, Choice, Preference, Social status, Consumer theory, Conformity


Working long hours might have adverse health effects, but whether this is true for all socioeconomic status groups is unclear. In this meta-analysis stratified by socioeconomic status, we investigated the role of long working hours as a risk factor for type 2 diabetes.

Concepts: Epidemiology, Diabetes mellitus type 2, Diabetes mellitus, Socioeconomic status, Sociology, Social status, Working time


Like humans, monkeys value information about sex and status, inviting the hypothesis that our susceptibility to these factors in advertising arises from shared, ancestral biological mechanisms that prioritize social information. To test this idea, we asked whether rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta) show choice behavior that is similar to humans in response to sex and social status in advertising. Our results show that monkeys form preferences for brand logos repeatedly paired with images of macaque genitals and high status monkeys. Moreover, monkeys sustain preferences for these brand logos even though choosing them provided no tangible rewards, a finding that cannot be explained by a decision mechanism operating solely on material outcomes. Together, our results endorse the hypothesis that the power of sex and status in advertising emerges from the spontaneous engagement of shared, ancestral neural circuits that prioritize information useful for navigating the social environment. Finally, our results show that simple associative conditioning is sufficient to explain the formation of preferences for brand logos paired with sexual or status-based images.

Concepts: Sociology, Macaque, Primate, Rhesus Macaque, Choice, Monkeys in space, Social status, Cercopithecine monkeys


To evaluate spatial effects of variation and social determinants of salt intake in Britain.

Concepts: Socioeconomic status, Sociology, Salt, Social status


Tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) is endemic to Europe and medically highly significant. This study, focused on Poland, investigated individual risk factors for TBE symptomatic infection.

Concepts: Epidemiology, Disease, Infectious disease, Socioeconomic status, Europe, Case-control study, Encephalitis, Social status


Background: Household coverage with iodized salt was assessed in 10 countries that implemented Universal Salt Iodization (USI).Objective: The objective of this paper was to summarize household coverage data for iodized salt, including the relation between coverage and residence type and socioeconomic status (SES).Methods: A review was conducted of results from cross-sectional multistage household cluster surveys with the use of stratified probability proportional to size design in Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Niger, the Philippines, Senegal, Tanzania, and Uganda. Salt iodine content was assessed with quantitative methods in all cases. The primary indicator of coverage was percentage of households that used adequately iodized salt, with an additional indicator for salt with some added iodine. Indicators of risk were SES and residence type. We used 95% CIs to determine significant differences in coverage.Results: National household coverage of adequately iodized salt varied from 6.2% in Niger to 97.0% in Uganda. For salt with some added iodine, coverage varied from 52.4% in the Philippines to 99.5% in Uganda. Coverage with adequately iodized salt was significantly higher in urban than in rural households in Bangladesh (68.9% compared with 44.3%, respectively), India (86.4% compared with 69.8%, respectively), Indonesia (59.3% compared with 51.4%, respectively), the Philippines (31.5% compared with 20.2%, respectively), Senegal (53.3% compared with 19.0%, respectively), and Tanzania (89.2% compared with 57.6%, respectively). In 7 of 8 countries with data, household coverage of adequately iodized salt was significantly higher in high- than in low-SES households in Bangladesh (58.8% compared with 39.7%, respectively), Ghana (36.2% compared with 21.5%, respectively), India (80.6% compared with 70.5%, respectively), Indonesia (59.9% compared with 45.6%, respectively), the Philippines (39.4% compared with 17.3%, respectively), Senegal (50.7% compared with 27.6%, respectively) and Tanzania (80.9% compared with 51.3%, respectively).Conclusions: Uganda has achieved USI. In other countries, access to iodized salt is inequitable. Quality control and regulatory enforcement of salt iodization remain challenging. Notable progress toward USI has been made in Ethiopia and India. Assessing progress toward USI only through household salt does not account for potentially iodized salt consumed through processed foods.

Concepts: Southeast Asia, Thyroid, Social status, Home, English-speaking countries and territories, Liberal democracies, African Union member states, Least Developed Countries


Low calcium intake may adversely affect bone health in adults. Recognizing the presence of low calcium intake is necessary to develop national strategies to optimize intake. To highlight regions where calcium intake should be improved, we systematically searched for the most representative national dietary calcium intake data in adults from the general population in all countries. We searched 13 electronic databases and requested data from domain experts. Studies were double-screened for eligibility. Data were extracted into a standard form. We developed an interactive global map, categorizing countries based on average calcium intake and summarized differences in intake based on sex, age, and socioeconomic status. Searches yielded 9780 abstracts. Across the 74 countries with data, average national dietary calcium intake ranges from 175 to 1233 mg/day. Many countries in Asia have average dietary calcium intake less than 500 mg/day. Countries in Africa and South America mostly have low calcium intake between about 400 and 700 mg/day. Only Northern European countries have national calcium intake greater than 1000 mg/day. Survey data for three quarters of available countries were not nationally representative. Average calcium intake is generally lower in women than men, but there are no clear patterns across countries regarding relative calcium intake by age, sex, or socioeconomic status. The global calcium map reveals that many countries have low average calcium intake. But recent, nationally representative data are mostly lacking. This review draws attention to regions where measures to increase calcium intake are likely to have skeletal benefits.

Concepts: Bone, Socioeconomic status, Calcium, Social status, Nation, Northern Europe, Nationality


We posit that the modern airplane is a social microcosm of class-based society, and that the increasing incidence of “air rage” can be understood through the lens of inequality. Research on inequality typically examines the effects of relatively fixed, macrostructural forms of inequality, such as socioeconomic status; we examine how temporary exposure to both physical and situational inequality, induced by the design of environments, can foster antisocial behavior. We use a complete set of all onboard air rage incidents over several years from a large, international airline to test our predictions. Physical inequality on airplanes-that is, the presence of a first class cabin-is associated with more frequent air rage incidents in economy class. Situational inequality-boarding from the front (requiring walking through the first class cabin) versus the middle of the plane-also significantly increases the odds of air rage in both economy and first class. We show that physical design that highlights inequality can trigger antisocial behavior on airplanes. More broadly, these results point to the importance of considering the design of environments-from airplanes to office layouts to stadium seating-in understanding both the form and emergence of antisocial behavior.

Concepts: Sociology, Antisocial personality disorder, Social status, Amtrak, Air travel, Travel class, First class travel, Business class


Across cultures, taller stature is linked to increased social status, but the potential reasons why this should be are unclear. One potential explanation is that taller individuals are more likely to win a dyadic confrontation with a competitor (i.e., they are more dominant), which leads to higher social rank. Although some previous studies have shown that perceptions of status or dominance are related to height, and are therefore consistent with such an explanation, there is surprisingly little research testing whether height actually has any influence on the behavioural outcomes in real-life social interactions. Here, we present three naturalistic observational studies demonstrating that height predicts interpersonal dominance during brief dyadic interactions. Study 1 investigated the likelihood of giving way in a narrow passage (N = 92); Study 2 investigated giving way in a busy shopping street, plus the likelihood of colliding with another individual (N = 1,108); and Study 3 investigated the likelihood of maintaining a linear path while walking, and potentially entering another individual’s personal space (N = 1,056). We conclude that human height is positively related to interpersonal dominance, and may well contribute to the widely observed positive association between height and social status.

Concepts: Scientific method, Psychology, Human, Sociology, Human height, Anthropology, Behavior, Social status


Mistrust of others may build upon perceptions of the self as vulnerable, consistent with an association of paranoia with perceived lower social rank. Height is a marker of social status and authority. Therefore we tested the effect of manipulating height, as a proxy for social rank, on paranoia. Height was manipulated within an immersive virtual reality simulation. Sixty females who reported paranoia experienced a virtual reality train ride twice: at their normal and reduced height. Paranoia and social comparison were assessed. Reducing a person’s height resulted in more negative views of the self in comparison with other people and increased levels of paranoia. The increase in paranoia was fully mediated by changes in social comparison. The study provides the first demonstration that reducing height in a social situation increases the occurrence of paranoia. The findings indicate that negative social comparison is a cause of mistrust.

Concepts: Sociology, Human height, Mind, Concepts in metaphysics, Simulated reality, Reality, Virtual reality, Social status