Social Importance of Dominance

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Dominance refers to the position of an individual in a power hierarchy. Dominant individuals have preferential access to resources over other less dominant individuals. Dominance is achieved through aggression or through the perceived threat of aggression often conveyed through non-verbal communication such as body position, posture, and facial expressions such as lowered brow position and staring. Additionally in humans it can be achieved through leadership and persuasion.

Dominance plays a role in all human cultures as well as all documented primate social systems. In the case of many non-human primates, such as chimpanzees, orangutans, and rhesus macaques, it is both a major part of their social structure and a significant factor of their personality structure.


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  2. Rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta) as living fossils of hominoid personality and subjective well-being., Weiss, Alexander, Adams Mark James, Widdig Anja, and Gerald Melissa S. , J Comp Psychol, 2011 Feb, Volume 125, Issue 1, p.72-83, (2011)
  3. Personality and subjective well-being in orangutans (Pongo pygmaeus and Pongo abelii)., Weiss, Alexander, King James E., and Perkins Lori , J Pers Soc Psychol, 2006 Mar, Volume 90, Issue 3, p.501-11, (2006)
  4. The Five-Factor Model plus Dominance in Chimpanzee Personality, King, James E., and Figueredo Aurelio José , Journal of Research in Personality, Volume 31, p.257 - 271, (1997)
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