Publications

Occupational Prestige: The Status Component of Socioeconomic Status

Occupational Prestige: The Status Component of Socioeconomic Status

The relationship between life outcomes and an individual’s standing in the social and economic hierarchy of society is an important topic across the social sciences. Foundational to this work is assessing an individual’s standing in this hierarchy, often referred to as socioeconomic status (SES). One component of an individual’s SES, often overlooked in the psychological literature, is occupational prestige – the amount of status accorded to them based on their occupational role. In this research, we collected and validated a new index of occupational prestige for 1029 specific occupations, including all jobs in the US Department of Labor’s ONET database and 22 broader occupational families. In Study 1, we collected a comprehensive set of occupational prestige ratings and demonstrated their high reliability. In Study 2, we developed a crosswalk between the ratings collected in Study 1 and prior ratings of occupations listed in the US Census and show convergent validity with previous indices. In Studies 3 and 4 we used additional data to evaluate the construct validity of occupational prestige more broadly. In Study 3, we established convergent and discriminant validity with other indicators of SES: income and educational attainment. In Study 4, we use the ONET database to identify the characteristics of occupations most strongly associated with prestige. These results support the validity of the index and suggest occupations with high prestige require skills traditionally emphasized in liberal arts education (e.g., critical thinking, reading comprehension).

The Big Five Across Socioeconomic Status: Measurement Invariance, Relationships, and Age Trends

The Big Five Across Socioeconomic Status: Measurement Invariance, Relationships, and Age Trends

Associations between socioeconomic status (SES) and personality traits have important implications for theory and application. Progress in understanding these associations depends on valid measurement, unbiased estimation, and careful assessment of generalizability. In this registered report, we used data from AIID, a large online study, to address three basic questions about personality and SES. First, we evaluated the measurement invariance of a common measure of personality, the Big Five Inventory, across indicators of educational attainment, income, and occupational prestige. Fit indices showed some instances of detectable noninvariance, but with little practical impact on substantive results. Second, we estimated associations between SES and personality. Results showed that personality and SES were largely independent (most rs < .1), in contrast to predictions derived from several previous studies.Third, we tested whether age trends in personality were moderated by SES. Results did not support predictions from social investment theory, but they did suggest that age trends were largely generalizable across SES. We discuss the implications of these findings for developing and validating personality measures for use in diverse samples. We also discuss the implications for theories that propose that the Big Five are responsive to, or partially responsible for, people’s economic and social conditions.

Is perceived similarity more than assumed similarity? An interpersonal path to seeing similarity between self and others

Is perceived similarity more than assumed similarity? An interpersonal path to seeing similarity between self and others

People perceive similarity between their own personality characteristics and the personality characteristics of others. This association has sometimes been labeled “assumed similarity,” reflecting the interpretation that it is a cognitive bias. Another possibility, however, is an interpersonal path to perceived similarity: personality traits that are manifested in behavior may elicit similar or dissimilar behavior from others, and people form perceptions based on what they have elicited. Drawing on theories of interpersonal perception and interpersonal theory, we proposed and tested for evidence of such perceiver-elicited similarity effects, as well as trait and state assumed similarity. Previously unacquainted participants (N = 322) completed personality assessments, interacted in dyads the next day, and then reported perceptions of each other’s personalities. The results showed broad support for the expression and accurate perceptions of most Big Five domains and facets. The preregistered directional hypotheses for behavior elicitation and perceiver-elicited similarity were supported for 3 of 5 traits. Participants interpersonally elicited and then accurately perceived similarity in sociability and openness, and dissimilarity in assertiveness. We also found evidence for assumed similarity for agreeableness and energy level, but participants did not elicit similar behavior from their partners for those traits. We discuss implications for treating perceived similarity as a dynamic, multicomponent phenomenon, and the possibility that assumed similarity emerges from the repeated experience of interpersonally elicited and perceived similarity.