Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Psychological Science

Living Edition
| Editors: Todd K. Shackelford, Viviana A. Weekes-Shackelford

Nonverbal Indicators of Dominance

  • Kristofor McCartyEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-16999-6_1415-1



Dominance in large part is having power or influence over others. An important part of negotiating access to resources, be it food or mates, throughout the animal kingdom and ancestral humans is/has been achieved through physical force, particularly between males. For example, men who repeatedly win fights and contests against other men (intrasexual selection) are often revered in society, and their status within the group is elevated (Hill and Hurtado 1996). This functions as a deterrent to potential competitors from challenge and is known as physical dominance, which will be the focus of this section.


The ability to make accurate assessments of physical dominance in species with aggressive social interactions is of particular importance as it can ultimately fall within the realm of natural selection. People who have the potential to inflict serious or even fatal physical harm is a strong selective force and it makes...


Dominance Status Facial Hair Dominance Rating Fighting Ability Intrasexual Selection 
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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyNorthumbria UniversityNewcastle upon-TyneUK