Social-rank cues: Decoding rank from physical characteristics, behaviors, and possessions

Perrine Desmichel*, Derek D. Rucker

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Inferring individuals' social rank—their position within a hierarchy—is central to many interactions. However, how do observers assess actors' social rank? The current article reviews three broad sources of social-rank cues: physical characteristics, behaviors, and possessions. First, observers infer an actor's social rank from ancestral stereotypes tethered to physical characteristics. Second, observers ascribe social rank to an actor from behaviors that range from nonverbal communication to explicit acts.Finally, observers assume social rank from actors' possessions. The present review emphasizes recent developments in these areas and poses question for future research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)79-84
Number of pages6
JournalCurrent opinion in psychology
StatePublished - Feb 2022


  • Power
  • Rank Perception
  • Social Cues.
  • Social Hierarchy
  • Social Rank
  • Social Status

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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