High-status monkeys ignore the interests of riff-raff

February 21, 2006

Where we look often reveals our interests and intentions. Consequently, we often look toward others and follow their gaze to the objects to which they give visual attention. Like humans, monkeys pay attention to the eyes of individuals within their groups; in the laboratory, they respond more quickly to a target when they have seen another individual look at it. Researchers at Duke University Medical Center now demonstrate that social status strongly determines how monkeys deploy their attention to others: high-status monkeys are slower and more selective about whose gaze they follow than are low-status monkeys.

In the current study, Stephen Shepherd, Robert Deaner, and Michael Platt examined the time course of attention when male macaques saw other high- or low-status male macaques looking toward or away from a target. They found that low-status monkeys shifted attention to the target within a tenth of a second after seeing another monkey do so. High-status monkeys, however, were half as fast and only followed the gaze of other dominant monkeys.

The findings indicate that gaze-following in monkeys is composed of both reflexive and voluntary elements, and they also demonstrate that social status of an individual gates that individual's deployment of social attention. The study results further suggest that biological correlates of high social status, such as elevated levels of the male sex hormone testosterone, may suppress so-called "social vigilance," which is high in low-status males that readily follow the gaze of others.
-end-
The researchers include Stephen V. Shepherd, Robert O. Deaner, and Michael L. Platt of Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. This work was supported by MH066259 (M.L.P.), the Cure Autism Now Foundation (M.L.P.), and a postdoctoral NRSA (R.O.D.).

Shepherd et al.: "Social status gates social attention in monkeys." Publishing in Current Biology 16, R119-R120, February 21, 2006. www.current-biology.com

Cell Press

Related Social Status Articles from Brightsurf:

Psychological status rather than cognitive status is associated with incorrect perception of risk of falling in patients with moderate stage dementia
Dementia is associated with an impaired self-perception with potentially harmful consequences for health status and clinical risk classification in this patient group with an extraordinary high risk of falling.

Effect of hydroxychloroquine on clinical status
This randomized trial compares the effects of hydroxychloroquine versus placebo on patients' clinical status at 14 days (home, requiring noninvasive or invasive ventilation or extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, hospitalized, died) among adults hospitalized with COVID-19.

'Social cells' related to social behavior identified in the brain
A research team led by Professor TAKUMI Toru of Kobe University's Graduate School of Medicine (also a Senior Visiting Scientist at RIKEN Center for Biosystems Dynamics Research) have identified 'social cells' in the brain that are related to social behavior.

Behaviors and traits that influence social status, according to evolutionary psychologists
Beyond fame and fortune, certain traits and behaviors may have pervasive influence in climbing the social ladder, according to a study by evolutionary psychologists at The University of Texas at Austin.

Social media influencers could encourage adolescents to follow social distancing guidelines
Public health bodies should consider incentivizing social media influencers to encourage adolescents to follow social distancing guidelines, say researchers.

Social grooming factors influencing social media civility on COVID-19
A new study analyzing tweets about COVID-19 found that users with larger social networks tend to use fewer uncivil remarks when they have more positive responses from others.

The status of women
What drives people seek to high social status? A common evolutionary explanation suggests men do so because, in the past, they were able to leverage their social position into producing more children and propagating their genes.

Social isolation during adolescence drives long-term disruptions in social behavior
Mount Sinai Researchers find social isolation during key developmental windows drives long term changes to activity patterns of neurons involved in initiating social approach in an animal model.

How status sticks to genes
Life at the bottom of the social ladder may have long-term health effects that even upward mobility can't undo, according to new research in monkeys.

Social media stress can lead to social media addiction
Social network users risk becoming more and more addicted to social media platforms even as they experience stress from their use.

Read More: Social Status News and Social Status Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.