Bulletin of Mathematical Biology

, Volume 77, Issue 6, pp 927–952 | Cite as

Modelling Dominance Hierarchies Under Winner and Loser Effects

  • Klodeta Kura
  • Mark Broom
  • Anne Kandler
Original Article


Animals that live in groups commonly form themselves into dominance hierarchies which are used to allocate important resources such as access to mating opportunities and food. In this paper, we develop a model of dominance hierarchy formation based upon the concept of winner and loser effects using a simulation-based model and consider the linearity of our hierarchy using existing and new statistical measures. Two models are analysed: when each individual in a group does not know the real ability of their opponents to win a fight and when they can estimate their opponents’ ability every time they fight. This estimation may be accurate or fall within an error bound. For both models, we investigate if we can achieve hierarchy linearity, and if so, when it is established. We are particularly interested in the question of how many fights are necessary to establish a dominance hierarchy.


Dominance hierarchy Winner and loser effects Linearity  Resource holding power Kolmogorov distance 


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Copyright information

© Society for Mathematical Biology 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of MathematicsCity University LondonLondonUK

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