Humans build hierarchical relations, in which they coordinate according to rankings. Rankings need to be mentally represented in order to be communicated and constituted. These mental representations are grounded: They depend on the body and its interactions with the physical and social environment. The review reports evidence from four fields on the nature of this grounding. Work on nonverbal behavior shows that rank is inferred from various magnitudes related to bodily size and strength. Conversely, rank is envisioned using the same magnitudes. Schematized versions of these and other magnitude and dimensional cues influence cognition about ranks. Finally, cognition about ranks shows characteristics of magnitude. These lines of work converge in the conclusion that humans have developed a general representation of rank as a magnitude grounded in bodily size and strength.
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