I have posted before about signaling theory and there is a pretty good chance if we have talked about anything then I have brought signalling theory into the discussion no matter what the subject of the conversation. Adam told me today that I needed to listen to the most recent episode of a podcast that we both like called “Hidden Brain“. Adam and I have had several conversations recently on some non conspicuous forms of spending that we both believe are basically methods of signaling that one belongs to a certain socio-economic strata. “Hidden Brain”‘s episode “Never Go to Vegas” discusses some good examples of the type of signaling we were discussing. I highly recommend listening to not just the episode but regularly listening to the podcast. So much of hat we do has very little to do with our conscious choice and so much has to do with communicating with others which groups we are a part of and which groups we are not a part of.
The episode compares the behavior of Hollywood A-lister celebrities who have unconsciously created an exclusive grouping that have certain spoken and unspoken signifiers (one of which is not to spend much time in Vegas) with people in what they call the Aspirational Class. The episode describes many Aspirational Class behaviors which can be viewed as signifiers that serve to “reproduce privilege” within the group.
Do yourself a favor and listen to the episode.
SIDE NOTE – If you listen to the podcast you’ll understand the title. Basically A-List celebrities generally don’t go to parties in Las Vegas.
SIDE SIDE NOTE – I recognize the irony of me mentioning a NPR show episode concerning signaling that specifically describes listening to NPR as possible signaling behavior.