Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Psychological Science

Living Edition
| Editors: Todd K. Shackelford, Viviana A. Weekes-Shackelford

Male Dominance Hierarchies

  • Romain Ligneul
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-16999-6_165-1

Dominance relationships refer to asymmetries of control within dyads of individuals. Whether this control is exerted over nutritional resources, space, or sexual partners does not fundamentally matter, as long as framing social interactions in terms of dominance enables the observer to better predict the outcome of these interactions (Bernstein 1981). For example, the concept of dominance can be invoked when predicting that if A has won over B in the past, then A will also win over B in the future or that if A prevails over B when competing for food, then A will also prevail over B when competing for space or sexual partners.

By contrast, dominance hierarchiesrefer to the transitive manifestation of the aforementioned asymmetries within a social group, such that if one has observed that A dominates B and B dominates C, then one can deduce that A will dominate C. This transitivity criterion plays a key normative role in determining which behavioral metrics are suitable for the...

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Champalimaud Neuroscience ProgramLisbonPortugal

Section editors and affiliations

  • Tara DeLecce
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyOakland UniversityRochesterUSA