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Models of Dominance Hierarchy Formation: Effects of Prior Experience and Intrinsic Traits

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Results of experimental research are used to develop theoretical models of dominance hierarchy formation that incorporate effects of prior aggressive experience and body size. A combination of analytical models and computer simulations confirm previous theoretical treatments showing that intrinsic attributes such as body size fail to account for the degree of hierarchy linearity observed in nature for typical within-group variance of such attributes. Moreover, these models explain the mathematical dynamics of the operation of winner/loser effects during hierarchy formation. Additionally, I present an analysis of these models which shows that the degree to which relationships of component triads (all combinations of three individuals in a group) within a hierarchy develop sequentially can have a significant effect on linearity and is an emergent feature of prior experience effects that previously has not been examined. I explain how this feature can operate through physical and behavioral features of social groups that increase physical proximity of subgroups within a larger group, thus increasing the probability of sequential relationship development in component triads, which in turn provides the conditions for winner/loser effects to significantly increase the probability of component triad transitivity and hierarchy linearity.


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