We surveyed people during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 to assess how much their feelings of status affected their feelings of safety from covid, their sense of physical and psychological safety, and their anxiety about death. Though we found no status effects on covid safety, feeling higher in status was associated with feeling safer in all other areas.
We conducted an experiment featuring an animated scenario in which the participant imagines crashing a small plane on a remoted island where the inhabitants are hostile to outsiders. We experimentally manipulated whether the protagonist has a radio beacon (control), a gun (source of power), or an amulet that makes the wearer revered (source of status). The amulet made participants feel safer than the other items; given a free choice, participants preferred to have an amulet than even a gun.
This manuscript is being prepared for submission.