ERIC Number: ED235412
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1983-Apr
Reference Count: 0
Height as a Determinant of Submission and the Assignment of Responsibility.
Hess, Harrie F.
Height is one important variable among many in the elicitation of the submissive response. In addition to overt behavioral components, the submissive response involves a cognitive component, in which oneself is perceived as smaller and weaker, and an affective component, consisting of a feeling of intimidation by the other. Submission is a species-specific response pattern, basically unlearned but affected by experience. While the dyadic relationship is usually the basis of the height-submission relationship, height differentials are hypothesized to exert predictably similar consequences in group situations, where the submission to height by many individuals leads to the assignment of leadership and responsibility. This behavior pattern constitutes a relatively stable trans-situational personality characteristically typifying the behaviors of dominant or submissive individuals. Height, through the mediation of the submission variable, is seen as a determinant of the outcome of certain significant social interactions, such as the assignment of pay and status. Since height differential acts as a sign-stimulus both within and across sexes, females, only 25 percent of whom are taller than the average male, tend more than males to assume submissive roles, and to be less frequently assigned positions of dominance, authority, and high pay. Understanding the importance of height may have significance in reaching a better understanding of the phenomena attributed to sexism and of social processes in general. (JAC)
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Dominant Behavior; Submissive Behavior
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Convention of the Rocky Mountain Psychological Association (Snowbird, UT, April 26-30, 1983).