social dominance


Summary: Social structure of a group as it relates to the relative social rank of dominance status of its members. (APA, Thesaurus of Psychological Index Terms, 8th ed.)

Top Publications

  1. Fujimoto S, Hirata B, Nagayama T. Dominance hierarchy-dependent behavioural plasticity of crayfish avoidance reactions. J Exp Biol. 2011;214:2718-23 pubmed publisher
    ..This behavioural transition from dart to turn response occurred immediately and was maintained for at least 3 days even if a dominant crayfish was isolated again with no opponent...
  2. Klass K, Cords M. Effect of unknown relationships on linearity, steepness and rank ordering of dominance hierarchies: simulation studies based on data from wild monkeys. Behav Processes. 2011;88:168-76 pubmed publisher
    ..Quantitative characterizations of hierarchies are perhaps best viewed as a somewhat fluid range rather than fixed values...
  3. Renn S, Fraser E, Aubin Horth N, Trainor B, Hofmann H. Females of an African cichlid fish display male-typical social dominance behavior and elevated androgens in the absence of males. Horm Behav. 2012;61:496-503 pubmed publisher
    ..burtoni to the females of this species and provide a foundation for uncovering the neural and molecular basis of social dominance behavior while controlling for factors such as sex, gonadal state and growth.
  4. Thomsen L, Frankenhuis W, Ingold Smith M, Carey S. Big and mighty: preverbal infants mentally represent social dominance. Science. 2011;331:477-80 pubmed publisher
    ..These results suggest that preverbal infants mentally represent social dominance and use a cue that covaries with it phylogenetically, and marks it metaphorically across human cultures and ..
  5. Lyon B, Montgomerie R. Sexual selection is a form of social selection. Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 2012;367:2266-73 pubmed publisher
    ..However, social selection theory encompasses much more than female reproductive competition. Our goal here was to provide that broader perspective. ..
  6. Mascaro O, Csibra G. Representation of stable social dominance relations by human infants. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2012;109:6862-7 pubmed publisher represent social relations? We approached this question by studying human infants' understanding of social dominance as a stable relation. We presented infants with interactions between animated agents in conflict situations...
  7. Wilson A, Morrissey M, Adams M, Walling C, Guinness F, Pemberton J, et al. Indirect genetics effects and evolutionary constraint: an analysis of social dominance in red deer, Cervus elaphus. J Evol Biol. 2011;24:772-83 pubmed publisher
    By determining access to limited resources, social dominance is often an important determinant of fitness. Thus, if heritable, standard theory predicts mean dominance should evolve...
  8. Hultgren K, Duffy J. Phylogenetic community ecology and the role of social dominance in sponge-dwelling shrimp. Ecol Lett. 2012;15:704-13 pubmed publisher
    ..Our analyses demonstrate that community assembly in this diverse system occurs via traits mediating niche use and differential competitive ability. ..
  9. Sato D, Nagayama T. Development of agonistic encounters in dominance hierarchy formation in juvenile crayfish. J Exp Biol. 2012;215:1210-7 pubmed publisher
    ..With increasing body size, the probability of tailflips decreased while that of retreats increased as the submissive behavioural act of subordinate animals...

More Information


  1. Balasubramaniam K, Dittmar K, Berman C, Butovskaya M, Cooper M, Majolo B, et al. Hierarchical steepness, counter-aggression, and macaque social style scale. Am J Primatol. 2012;74:915-25 pubmed publisher
    ..This could be due in turn to a structural linkage of social traits based on adaptation to similar ecological conditions in the distant past, or simply to unlinked phylogenetic closeness...
  2. Haugland T, Rudolfsen G, Figenschou L, Folstad I. Is the adipose fin and the lower jaw (kype) related to social dominance in male Arctic charr Salvelinus alpinus?. J Fish Biol. 2011;79:1076-83 pubmed publisher
    ..on the importance of the size of the kype (lower jaw) and the adipose fin for establishing and maintaining social dominance in pair-wise interactions among size-matched, reproductively active male Arctic charr Salvelinus alpinus...
  3. Fürtbauer I, Heistermann M, Schülke O, Ostner J. Concealed fertility and extended female sexuality in a non-human primate (Macaca assamensis). PLoS ONE. 2011;6:e23105 pubmed publisher
    ..Our study provides important new insight into the plasticity of female sexuality in non-human primates...
  4. Araki M, Hasegawa T, Komatsuda S, Nagayama T. Social status-dependent modulation of LG-flip habituation in the crayfish. J Exp Biol. 2013;216:681-6 pubmed publisher
  5. Archie E, Altmann J, Alberts S. Social status predicts wound healing in wild baboons. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2012;109:9017-22 pubmed publisher
    ..We discuss why alpha males seem to escape from the immunosuppressive costs of glucocorticoids but low-ranking males do not, including the idea that glucocorticoids' effects depend on an individual's physiological and social context. ..
  6. Amsalem E, Hefetz A. The effect of group size on the interplay between dominance and reproduction in Bombus terrestris. PLoS ONE. 2011;6:e18238 pubmed publisher
    ..This may shift the trade-off between cost and benefit of worker reproduction and trigger the competition phase. ..
  7. Tiddi B, Aureli F, Schino G, Voelkl B. Social relationships between adult females and the alpha male in wild tufted capuchin monkeys. Am J Primatol. 2011;73:812-20 pubmed publisher
  8. Sneddon L, Schmidt R, Fang Y, Cossins A. Molecular correlates of social dominance: a novel role for ependymin in aggression. PLoS ONE. 2011;6:e18181 pubmed publisher
    ..The variation in the molecular profile of each individual within a group may offer a new explanation of intraspecific variation in gene expression within undefined groups of animals and provides new candidates for empirical study. ..
  9. Ord T, Garcia Porta J. Is sociality required for the evolution of communicative complexity? Evidence weighed against alternative hypotheses in diverse taxonomic groups. Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 2012;367:1811-28 pubmed publisher
    ..Becoming social presumably leads to the origin of social communication in animals, but its subsequent influence on the trajectory of signal evolution has been neither clear-cut nor general among taxonomic groups. ..
  10. Ueno R, Nagayama T. Interlocking of chelae is a key factor for dominance hierarchy formation in crayfish. J Exp Biol. 2012;215:2841-8 pubmed publisher
    ..Preventing chelae from interlocking prevented escalation of agonistic bouts. We show that interlocking of chelae acted as a key factor for the formation of dominance hierarchy...
  11. Hohenbrink S, Meinecke Tillmann S. Influence of social dominance on the secondary sex ratio and factors affecting hierarchy in Holstein dairy cows. J Dairy Sci. 2012;95:5694-701 pubmed publisher
    ..These results indicate that the maternal dominance rank was associated with the secondary sex ratio in cattle. These observations are generally in agreement with the advantaged daughter hypothesis. ..
  12. Sartori C, Mantovani R. Indirect genetic effects and the genetic bases of social dominance: evidence from cattle. Heredity (Edinb). 2013;110:3-9 pubmed publisher
    ..This study aimed at investigating the contribution of conspecifics in social dominance, considered as response of dyadic interaction that is, winning (dominant individual) or losing (subordinate)...
  13. Young A, Bennett N. Intra-sexual selection in cooperative mammals and birds: why are females not bigger and better armed?. Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 2013;368:20130075 pubmed publisher
  14. Gesquiere L, Wango E, Alberts S, Altmann J. Mechanisms of sexual selection: sexual swellings and estrogen concentrations as fertility indicators and cues for male consort decisions in wild baboons. Horm Behav. 2007;51:114-25 pubmed
    ..Alpha males are the least constrained in their mating behavior and can best take advantage of these cues to mate selectively. ..
  15. Landete Castillejos T, Ceacero F, Garcia A, Estevez J, Gallego L. Direct versus indirect effects of social rank, maternal weight, body condition and age on milk production in Iberian red deer ( Cervus elaphus hispanicus). J Dairy Res. 2010;77:77-84 pubmed publisher
    ..This study shows, for the first time in a wild mammal, the relative importance of social rank, body weight, body condition and age in affecting milk production ability. ..
  16. Lehtonen T, Meyer A. Heritability and adaptive significance of the number of egg-dummies in the cichlid fish Astatotilapia burtoni. Proc Biol Sci. 2011;278:2318-24 pubmed publisher
  17. Rajagopal T, Archunan G, Geraldine P, Balasundaram C. Assessment of dominance hierarchy through urine scent marking and its chemical constituents in male blackbuck Antelope cervicapra, a critically endangered species. Behav Processes. 2010;85:58-67 pubmed publisher
  18. Judd T, Magnus R, Fasnacht M. A nutritional profile of the social wasp Polistes metricus: differences in nutrient levels between castes and changes within castes during the annual life cycle. J Insect Physiol. 2010;56:42-56 pubmed publisher
    ..Males also showed distinct nutritional changes during their lifetime. The implications for these nutritional differences are discussed. ..
  19. Wong M, Munday P, Buston P, Jones G. Fasting or feasting in a fish social hierarchy. Curr Biol. 2008;18:R372-3 pubmed publisher
  20. Rands S, Cowlishaw G, Pettifor R, Rowcliffe J, Johnstone R. The emergence of leaders and followers in foraging pairs when the qualities of individuals differ. BMC Evol Biol. 2008;8:51 pubmed publisher
    ..We discuss how these results are related to experimental observations, and how the model and its predictions could be extended. ..
  21. Cornwallis C, Birkhead T. Changes in sperm quality and numbers in response to experimental manipulation of male social status and female attractiveness. Am Nat. 2007;170:758-70 pubmed
  22. Pongrácz P, Vida V, Bánhegyi P, Miklosi A. How does dominance rank status affect individual and social learning performance in the dog (Canis familiaris)?. Anim Cogn. 2008;11:75-82 pubmed
    ..This finding reveals an intricate organization of the social structure in multi-dog households, which can contribute to individual differences existing among dogs. ..
  23. Pellegrini A, Roseth C, Mliner S, Bohn C, Van Ryzin M, Vance N, et al. Social dominance in preschool classrooms. J Comp Psychol. 2007;121:54-64 pubmed
    The authors examined preschoolers' aggressive and cooperative behaviors and their associations with social dominance. First and as predicted, directly observed aggressive interactions decreased across the school year, and same-sex ..
  24. Wheeler D, Buck N, Evans J. Expression of insulin pathway genes during the period of caste determination in the honey bee, Apis mellifera. Insect Mol Biol. 2006;15:597-602 pubmed
    ..These results demonstrate that the insulin pathway is a compelling candidate for pursing the relationship between diet and downstream signals involved in caste determination and differentiation. ..
  25. Dijkstra P, Lindström J, Metcalfe N, Hemelrijk C, Brendel M, Seehausen O, et al. Frequency-dependent social dominance in a color polymorphic cichlid fish. Evolution. 2010;64:2797-807 pubmed publisher
    ..It could result from a social dominance advantage to rare morphs...
  26. Parmentier E, Colleye O, Mann D. Hearing ability in three clownfish species. J Exp Biol. 2009;212:2023-6 pubmed publisher
    ..However, they were found to be close to the dominant frequency of larger fish calls. The interest of juveniles lies in localising the adults and thus their location on the reef. ..
  27. Hanya G, Matsubara M, Hayaishi S, Zamma K, Yoshihiro S, Kanaoka M, et al. Food conditions, competitive regime, and female social relationships in Japanese macaques: within-population variation on Yakushima. Primates. 2008;49:116-25 pubmed
    ..The present results indicate that the female social relationships of Japanese macaques are robust and do not change according to changes in the current environment. ..
  28. Drea C. Sex and seasonal differences in aggression and steroid secretion in Lemur catta: are socially dominant females hormonally 'masculinized'?. Horm Behav. 2007;51:555-67 pubmed
    Female social dominance characterizes many strepsirrhine primates endemic to Madagascar, but currently there is no comprehensive explanation for how or why female lemurs routinely dominate males...
  29. Cornwallis C, Birkhead T. Plasticity in reproductive phenotypes reveals status-specific correlations between behavioral, morphological, and physiological sexual traits. Evolution. 2008;62:1149-61 pubmed publisher
  30. Hemelrijk C, Wantia J, Isler K. Female dominance over males in primates: self-organisation and sexual dimorphism. PLoS ONE. 2008;3:e2678 pubmed publisher
    ..Since the winner-loser effect has been shown to work in many taxa including humans, these results may have broad implications. ..
  31. Anderson W, Kim Y, Gowaty P. Experimental constraints on mate preferences in Drosophila pseudoobscura decrease offspring viability and fitness of mated pairs. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2007;104:4484-8 pubmed
    ..Reproductive success, our measure of overall fitness, was greater when males or females mated with the partner they preferred rather than the one they did not prefer. ..
  32. Stirrat M, Perrett D. Valid facial cues to cooperation and trust: male facial width and trustworthiness. Psychol Sci. 2010;21:349-54 pubmed publisher
    ..Moreover, manipulating this facial-width ratio with computer graphics controlled attributions of trustworthiness, particularly for subordinate female evaluators. ..
  33. Clutton Brock T. Structure and function in mammalian societies. Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 2009;364:3229-42 pubmed publisher
    ..As yet, there is little need to invoke group-level adaptations in order to account for the behaviour of individuals or the structure of mammalian groups. ..
  34. Hoffman C, Ayala J, Mas Rivera A, Maestripieri D. Effects of reproductive condition and dominance rank on cortisol responsiveness to stress in free-ranging female rhesus macaques. Am J Primatol. 2010;72:559-65 pubmed publisher
  35. Caldwell H, Dike O, Stevenson E, Storck K, Young W. Social dominance in male vasopressin 1b receptor knockout mice. Horm Behav. 2010;58:257-63 pubmed publisher
    ..In the social dominance study we found that Avpr1b -/- mice are able to form dominance hierarchies, though in early hierarchy ..
  36. Main J, Jones B, DeBruine L, Little A. Integrating gaze direction and sexual dimorphism of face shape when perceiving the dominance of others. Perception. 2009;38:1275-83 pubmed
    ..Integrating information from face shape and gaze cues may increase the efficiency with which we perceive the dominance of others. ..
  37. Iwasaki M, Delago A, Nishino H, Aonuma H. Effects of previous experience on the agonistic behaviour of male crickets, Gryllus bimaculatus. Zoolog Sci. 2006;23:863-72 pubmed
    ..Our results suggest that the maintenance of dominance in male crickets depends largely on the behavioural change of subordinate individuals. Possible mechanisms to maintain dominance are discussed. ..
  38. Somers M, Graf J, Szykman M, Slotow R, Gusset M. Dynamics of a small re-introduced population of wild dogs over 25 years: Allee effects and the implications of sociality for endangered species' recovery. Oecologia. 2008;158:239-47 pubmed publisher
    ..This study demonstrates how aspects of a species' social behaviour can influence the vulnerability of small populations to extinction and illustrates the profound implications of sociality for endangered species' recovery...
  39. Øverli Ø, Sørensen C, Pulman K, Pottinger T, Korzan W, Summers C, et al. Evolutionary background for stress-coping styles: relationships between physiological, behavioral, and cognitive traits in non-mammalian vertebrates. Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2007;31:396-412 pubmed
    ..longer retention of a conditioned response, and tend to show proactive behaviors such as enhanced aggression, social dominance, and rapid resumption of feed intake after stress...
  40. Puga Gonzalez I, Hildenbrandt H, Hemelrijk C. Emergent patterns of social affiliation in primates, a model. PLoS Comput Biol. 2009;5:e1000630 pubmed publisher
    ..Our model can be used as a null model to increase our understanding of affiliative behaviour among primates, in particular macaques. ..
  41. Bartos L, Schams D, Bubenik G, Kotrba R, Tomanek M. Relationship between rank and plasma testosterone and cortisol in red deer males (Cervus elaphus). Physiol Behav. 2010;101:628-34 pubmed publisher
    ..No changes in hormone concentrations were observed in the control group. Thus, changing the social environment of adult red deer males resulted in change of the relationship between rank and testosterone and cortisol concentrations. ..
  42. Tamara Montrose V, Edwin Harris W, Moore A, Moore P. Sperm competition within a dominance hierarchy: investment in social status vs. investment in ejaculates. J Evol Biol. 2008;21:1290-6 pubmed publisher
    ..These details will include how the physiological effects of social interactions may limit selection through male-male competition. ..
  43. Heinze J. Hierarchy length in orphaned colonies of the ant Temnothorax nylanderi. Naturwissenschaften. 2008;95:757-60 pubmed publisher
    ..The frequency and skew of aggression decreased with increasing size, indicating that rank orders are less pronounced in larger colonies. ..
  44. Sueur C, Deneubourg J, Petit O, Couzin I. Differences in nutrient requirements imply a non-linear emergence of leaders in animal groups. PLoS Comput Biol. 2010;6:e1000917 pubmed publisher
    ..This amplification may explain why some leaders could appear in animal groups without any despotism, complex signalling, or developed cognitive ability. ..
  45. Silk J, Beehner J, Bergman T, Crockford C, Engh A, Moscovice L, et al. Strong and consistent social bonds enhance the longevity of female baboons. Curr Biol. 2010;20:1359-61 pubmed publisher
    ..These data extend our understanding of the adaptive value of social bonds in baboons and complement a growing body of evidence that indicates that social bonds have adaptive value in a range of taxa, from mice to humans [9, 14-19]. ..
  46. Biro D, Sumpter D, Meade J, Guilford T. From compromise to leadership in pigeon homing. Curr Biol. 2006;16:2123-8 pubmed
    ..In the context of mass migration of birds and other animals, our results imply that simple self-organizing rules can produce behaviors that improve accuracy in decision-making and thus benefit individuals traveling in groups ...
  47. Herberholz J, McCurdy C, Edwards D. Direct benefits of social dominance in juvenile crayfish. Biol Bull. 2007;213:21-7 pubmed
  48. Heg D. Reproductive suppression in female cooperatively breeding cichlids. Biol Lett. 2008;4:606-9 pubmed publisher
    ..Nevertheless, some reproduction is tolerated, possibly to ensure continued alloparental care by subordinate females. ..
  49. Vannoni E, McElligott A. Low frequency groans indicate larger and more dominant fallow deer (Dama dama) males. PLoS ONE. 2008;3:e3113 pubmed publisher
    ..Our study is the first to show that sexually selected vocalisations can signal social dominance in mammals other than primates, and reveals that independent acoustic components encode accurate information ..
  50. Heg D, Jutzeler E, Bonfils D, Mitchell J. Group composition affects male reproductive partitioning in a cooperatively breeding cichlid. Mol Ecol. 2008;17:4359-70 pubmed
    ..Dominant females should be less sensitive, because female subordinates do not appear to impose reproductive costs and can be helpful through alloparental brood care. ..
  51. Ghosal K, Gupta M, Killian K. Agonistic behavior enhances adult neurogenesis in male Acheta domesticus crickets. J Exp Biol. 2009;212:2045-56 pubmed publisher
    ..Agonistic interactions enhanced the proliferation of these distributed precursor cells but did not increase the survival of the newborn neurons generated by these cells...
  52. Maner J, DeWall C, Gailliot M. Selective attention to signs of success: social dominance and early stage interpersonal perception. Pers Soc Psychol Bull. 2008;34:488-501 pubmed publisher
    ..experiments suggest that observers selectively attend to male, but not female, targets displaying signs of social dominance. Participants overestimated the frequency of dominant men in rapidly presented stimulus arrays (Study 1) and ..
  53. Grosenick L, Clement T, Fernald R. Fish can infer social rank by observation alone. Nature. 2007;445:429-32 pubmed
    ..Rather, animals probably use multiple domain-specific representations adapted to different social and ecological pressures that they encounter during the course of their natural lives. ..