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Dominance, Evolutionary

Definition

Virtually all human groups are characterized by some sort of hierarchy, in which some individuals enjoy relatively more respect and power than others do. Dominance refers to a person's rank or level in their group hierarchy. The term dominance is also used to refer to an individual's potential for asserting power and authority over more submissive members of his or her group (i.e., those with less dominance).

The concept of dominance should be differentiated from prestige or esteem. Although dominance and prestige often go hand in hand, it is possible to have prestige without power (e.g., a figurehead monarch who has no real authority), just as it is possible to have power without prestige (e.g., a disreputable dictator who, although able to assert authority over others, ...

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