STATUS RELEVANT SOCIAL CONTEXT, GROUP MEMBERSHIP, AND FINGER LENGTH RATIO (2D:4D) AS PREDICTORS OF ONLINE SOCIOECONOMIC BEHAVIOR
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It is often argued that increased prenatal androgen exposure (as measured by the second-to-fourth-digit ratio, or 2D:4D) predicts increased aggression. Such simplified models may obscure subtler processes, however. Investigating moderating variables could elucidate more consistent results between these variables. Two moderators investigated here were status-relevant social norms and group membership. Aggression, as measured by the decision to reject an unfair offer in the ultimatum game (UG), was viewed as a context-dependent strategy of status acquisition dictated by social norms and driven by group membership. Recent research suggests 2D:4D may be more associated with status acquisition motives than with aggression per se. It was hypothesized that lower 2D:4D would predict increased aggression when aggressive behavior was endorsed by group members for gaining/maintaining status. Conversely, lower 2D:4D would predict decreased aggression when aggressive behavior was proscribed by group members for gaining/maintaining status. Based on the Male Warrior Hypothesis, although it was hypothesized that out-group membership would predict aggressive behavior, it was also hypothesized that this effect would be maximal among those with lower 2D:4D, particularly when an aggression-for-status norm was endorsed. The data did not support the primary hypotheses. The digit ratio did not predict any DV. The norm manipulation did not affect UG decisions and there was a methodological issue with the group manipulation. The norm manipulation did affect secondary DVs, however. There were significant differences between the pro-, neutral, and anti-aggression groups regarding participants’ endorsement of a fictional character’s aggressive behavior to gain status. Those in the pro-aggression group endorsed it the most and those in the anti-aggression group endorsed it the least. Despite no effect of the norm manipulation on the decision in the UG, there was an effect of the manipulation on participants’ confessed intent, with those in the pro-aggression condition rating their decision to reject as “aggressive” more so than those in the anti-aggression condition. The norm manipulation also influenced meta-perceptions of how participants thought their teammates viewed them based on their decision in the UG. Exploratory analyses modeled these effects. Reasons for the manipulations failing to produce an effect on the primary DV are discussed.