The Status Signals Paradox

Stephen M. Garcia, Kimberlee Weaver, Patricia Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Making friends is critical to well-being. We also live in a society where the display of status is ubiquitous and billions of dollars are spent on high-status consumer goods. In the present analysis, we introduce the Status Signals Paradox: When making new friends, people tend to think that displaying high-status markers of themselves (e.g., a BMW, a Tag Heuer watch) will make them more attractive to others than neutral markers (e.g., a Honda, a generic brand watch); however, from the perspective of would-be friends, individuals who display high-status markers are found to be less attractive as new friends than those with neutral status markers. Six studies provide converging evidence of the status signals paradox.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)690-696
Number of pages7
JournalSocial Psychological and Personality Science
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2018.


  • decision-making
  • naive realism
  • presenter paradox
  • social comparison

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology


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