Dominance (ethology)

Dominance (Ethology)

Dominance (ethology)

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Dominance in the context of biology and anthropology is the state of having high social status relative to one or more other individuals, who react submissively to dominant individuals. This enables the dominant individual to obtain access to resources such as food or access to potential mates, at the expense of the submissive individual, without active aggression. The opposite of dominance is submissiveness. Dominance may be established by fighting, or merely by threatening displays or interchanges; once established, however, dominance relationships may reduce the level of aggression between the individuals concerned.

Dominance may be a purely dyadic relationship, in which case the fact that individual A is dominant over B has no implications for whether or not either of them is dominant over a third individual C. Alternatively, dominance may be hierarchical, with a transitive relationship, so that if A dominates B and B dominates C, A always dominates C. This is called a linear dominance hierarchy or pecking order.

In hierarchical societies, the dominant individual in a group may exert control over others; more commonly, however, decision-taking about the actions of the group is dissociated from social dominance.Rowell, T. E. (1974). The concept of social dominance. Behavioral Biology, 11, 131-154.

In animal societies, dominance is typically variable across time (as individuals age, gain or lose social status, or change their reproductive...
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