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dominanceDominanz (ger.)

  • 1) Tendency towards domination of or submission to others viewed as a personality trait. (OED 2017)
    social behaviour dominant

    What is the degree and direction of change in the two groups in these personality traits: neurotic tendency, introversion-extroversion, dominance-submission, self-sufficiency, honesty, prejudice, and mathematical interest?

    Allen, G.E. (1933). Individualized method and character education. The Journal of Educational Sociology 7, 254-258: 254.


    Every bird in the flock is a personality, determined by its ambivalent dominance-submission reactions in relation to every other bird

    Wheeler, W.M. (1934). Animal societies. The Scientific Monthly 39, 289-301: 294.


    the defining of dominance in a clear fahion is bound to be a difficult task. As a consequence we have found it necessary to define it on several different levels. Probably the most cautious way of defining it is behaviorally, on the basis of what we can see when we look at the animals. For instance, we have defined the dominant animal as one whose behavior proceeded without deference to the similar behavior patterns of the subordinate animal. The subordinate animal accordingly was defined as the animal whose behavior patterns were determined, suggested, modified or completely inhibited by the similar behavior patterns of the dominant animal. Another possibility is to define the dominant animal in terms of his own specific behaviour, attitudes, gestures, bearing, mien, etc. This has the advantage of being specific and easily verifiable. Dominance can also be defined terms of the social behavior syndrome characteristic of typical dominant animals. We can say that the dominant animal is one who behaves in such and such a way with respect to food, sex and aggression, always with quantitative reference. The specific correlations between various parts of the behavior syndrome would be important here. This definition is also in a sense a behavioral definition that is verifiable, although with a good deal of effort. Finally, we can defince dominance in a more theoretical way. We can say that the dominance drive is the fundamental source of energy at the basis of the close correlations within the dominance behavior syndromes. Where we find such an extensive system of high inter-correlations with no causal relationships to each other, we are justified in postulating some common source from which all these behaviors flow, and which explains their high inter-correlations simply on the basis of this common participation in this common source.

    Maslow, A.H. (1935). Individual psychology and social behavior of monkeys and apes. International Journal of Individual Psychology 1, 47-59: 58-9.


    dominance in the social and sexual behaviour of infra-human primates

    Maslow, A.H. (1936). The role of dominance in the social and sexual behaviour of infra-human primates. I. Observations at Vilas Park Zoo. J. Genet. Psychol. 48, 261-277.



    Crawford, M.P. (1939). The social psychology of the vertebrates. Psychological Bulletin 36, 407-446.


    In laboratory studies of primates, precedence to food is commonly used as an indicator of social dominance; and such precedence, according to social ranking based on aggressiveness, has been noted for certain other mammals

    Collias, N.E. (1944). Aggressive behaviour among vertebrate animals. Physiol. Zool. 17, 83-123: 85.


    Dominance is useful as a shorthand term to indicate that the outcome of an agonistic or competitive interaction between two animals is predictable at some practical level of certainty. Such predictability is the result of the previous learning experience of the animals involved, including experience of similar interactions either participated in or observed, and more indirectly relevant social experiences.

    Rowell, T.E. (1974). The concept of social dominance. Behav. Biol. 11, 131-154: 151.

  • 2) The phenomenon whereby one of a pair of alleles present in a genotype is expressed in a phenotype while the other allele is masked; the state or property of being dominant. (OED 2017)
    heredity dominant

    The facts in regard to dominance of characters in peas

    Bateson, W. (1902). Mendel’s Principles of Heredity: 119.

  • 3) The prevalence or predominance of one or more species in a plant community. (OED 2017)
    community dominant

    A distinction is frequently made between associations in which the position of dominance is shared by two or more species […] and those in which a single species is dominant

    Nichols, G.E. (1923). A working basis for the ecological classification of plant communities. Ecology 4, 11-23: 14.