Aggression and Dominance

Dario Maestripieri

in Macachiavellian Intelligence

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print November 2007 | ISBN: 9780226501178
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226501215 | DOI:
Aggression and Dominance

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  • Animal Behaviour and Behavioural Ecology


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Konrad Lorenz, the Austrian ethologist who won the Nobel Prize in 1973 for his studies of animal behavior, argued that aggression is a necessary and an inevitable aspect of animal social behavior, although not many behavioral biologists these days share his views on aggression. Aggression has a lot to do with competition; that is, the need or desire of two or more individuals for the same thing. Why are rhesus macaques and humans so aggressive? Because aggression is a valuable tool that is available at a low price. The seemingly senseless aggression of rhesus macaques makes perfect sense if one realizes that what the monkeys really want and fight for is not this or that resource, but power. Monkey power is called dominance, and to understand dominance we must first understand that rhesus macaques, just like people, have social relationships. This chapter explains aggression and dominance in rhesus macaques and humans. It first discusses dominance hierarchies and ranks, and then considers altruism and opportunism in agonistic intervention, before concluding with an analysis of scapegoating.

Keywords: humans; rhesus macaques; aggression; violence; dominance; hierarchies; ranks; altruism; opportunism; scapegoating

Chapter.  10076 words. 

Subjects: Animal Behaviour and Behavioural Ecology

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