Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Psychological Science

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

Coalitional Relationships

  • James G. Zerbe
  • Mateo Peñaherrera-Aguirre
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-16999-6_192-1



Coalitional relationship: coordinated and cooperative action among two or more individuals against some third party or parties.

Alliance relationship: reliable co-participation in coalitional action over time.


Coalitions are ubiquitous among humans and nonhuman primates (Chapais 1995; Cheney and Seyfarth 2008; Macfarlan et al. 2014; Patton 2000; van Schaik et al. 2006; von Rueden et al. 2008; Watts 1998). Coalitions are an important component of social dynamics by altering how power is distributed across individuals within and between groups and importantly affects fitness outcomes. Human warfare, politics, and economic behavior are coalitionally based and operate in a social landscape populated by like coalitions comprised of and connected by alliance relationships. Importantly, primates exhibit considerable variation in patterns of coalition and alliance formation. This chapter first details...

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Human Evolution and Social ChangeArizona State UniversityTempeUSA
  2. 2.University of ArizonaTucsonUSA

Section editors and affiliations

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