Journal of Nonverbal Behavior

, Volume 39, Issue 2, pp 131–163 | Cite as

The Vertical Dimension of Social Relations and Accurate Interpersonal Perception: A Meta-Analysis

  • Judith A. HallEmail author
  • Marianne Schmid Mast
  • Ioana-Maria Latu
Review Paper


There is little consensus regarding how verticality (social power, dominance, and status) is related to accurate interpersonal perception. The relation could be either positive or negative, and there could be many causal processes at play. The present article discusses the theoretical possibilities and presents a meta-analysis of this question. In studies using a standard test of interpersonal accuracy, higher socioeconomic status (SES) predicted higher accuracy defined as accurate inference about the meanings of cues; also, higher experimentally manipulated vertical position predicted higher accuracy defined as accurate recall of others’ words. In addition, although personality dominance did not predict accurate inference overall, the type of personality dominance did, such that empathic/responsible dominance had a positive relation and egoistic/aggressive dominance had a negative relation to accuracy. In studies involving live interaction, higher experimentally manipulated vertical position produced lower accuracy defined as accurate inference about cues; however, methodological problems place this result in doubt.


Verticality Power Dominance SES Accuracy of interpersonal perception Emotion recognition Recall 



The authors thank Magali Ecabert for her assistance in coding, and the authors who provided their unpublished results.


Works marked with * contributed effect sizes to the reported analyses. T = testing paradigm, I = in vivo paradigm

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Judith A. Hall
    • 1
    Email author
  • Marianne Schmid Mast
    • 2
  • Ioana-Maria Latu
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyNortheastern UniversityBostonUSA
  2. 2.Department of Organizational BehaviorUniversity of LausanneLausanneSwitzerland
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyRutgers UniversityCamdenUSA

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