Date of Award

Spring 5-13-2016

Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program




Major Professor

D'Lane Compton


According to social psychologists, we as a species are inequity averse. We prefer conditions that foster fairness and reject injustice against common good. At the same time, however, unequal power and status hierarchies color almost every aspect of our lives. Advantages are distributed asymmetrically based on hierarchical status processes. Life, in other words, is systematically unfair in addition to being populated by free riders. Are the outcomes of potential free riders correlated with status as well? Does status affect the individual’s ability to successfully free ride? Are higher status actors typically granted a greater degree of social leniency than lower status actors? Are they less likely to be marked as free riders? I conducted a simple vignette study to in which participants were presented with a hypothetical, one-shot interaction, involving a collectively oriented, task in order to investigate the relationship between status and free riding.


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