Re: Mazur

From: HARNAD Stevan (
Date: Sat May 23 1998 - 15:04:35 BST

> From: Beck Alexandra <>
> Dominance and aggression, can these two be put on a continuum as i
> think it is an easier way to explain why some individuals are only
> dominant and some are dominant with aggression.

Maybe. But they could also be completely, or partly, distinct.

How would you arrange the continuum? High on one end is aggression,
medium is dominance and low is submission? What about those who can
dominate without aggression. And those who cannot dominate despite
aggression? And what about aggression against other species (say,
predators, or prey)? Where is that on the continuum?

> Animals learn fighting abilities. Can it be said that the
> proximate mechanisms for fighting ability rely on men that fought won
> fights and therefore got rewards such as food. I know this has
> little to do with liking but it has lots to do with survival. Is the
> distal mechanism that men fight because it worked for their ancestors
> e.g. because they won they could reproduce and we are the winners of
> fights.

Yes, but when it comes to basic machanisms such as aggression, don't
look for a source in the human EEA because it's all over the map,
including the ancestors of our common ancestors with the primates and
even our kind of mammal. The stuff's all already in our brain stem and
hypothalamus before the first hominid walked the earth. Ditto for
social dominance, though that's more recent and applies only to social

Professor of Psychology
Director, phone: +44 1703 592582
Cognitive Sciences Centre fax: +44 1703 594597
Department of Psychology
University of Southampton
Highfield, Southampton

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