Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Psychological Science

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

Non-human Leadership

  • Jennifer E. SmithEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-16999-6_2714-1



Leadership occurs when an individual or subset of individuals within a social group or aggregation has a disproportional influence on the behavioral outcomes of conspecific members within the group regardless of how this effect is achieved.


Leadership is ubiquitous within animal societies, occurring when one individual or subset of individuals, the leader(s), exert(s) a disproportional influence on the behaviors of others (followers; Smith et al. 2016). Leaders emerge in non-human groups or aggregations of animals regardless of the how this influence is achieved (Smith et al. 2016). Within non-human animals, most research has focused on collective movements during groups travel (e.g., Reyonds 1987; Boinski and Garber 2000). More recently, the concept of leadership has been extended to also explain collection action within the domains of foraging, conflict resolution and between-group conflicts (Smith et...

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Biology DepartmentMills CollegeOaklandUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Russell Jackson
    • 1
  1. 1.University of IdahoMoscowUSA