Social status and brain activity are closely connected

The U.S. National Institute of Mental Health released an interesting study that shows connection between social status and brain activity.

Researchers found out that different brain areas are activated when a person advances or degrades in social status or contacts people who are socially superior or inferior. Functional MRI scans showed that brain revealed activity if there were any potential changes in social status. The same activity is tracked down when a person has won money.

Let’s start from the beginning: our social position is closely connected with motivation, physical and mental health. The lower our status is the less we are satisfied. It has a direct impact upon our psychic state, may lead to stress, depression. This can’t but influence our physical health.

The research team managed to work out an artificial social hierarchy in which 72 volunteers played an interactive computer game for money. The participants were ascribed a social status and were told it was based on their playing skill. The results of the game were predetermined.

The participants saw pictures and scores of inferior and superior "players" they believed were playing in other rooms at the same time. The MRI revealed that the participants' perceived position in the gaming hierarchy greatly influenced their brain activity and behavior.