Social dominance in animals.
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameDoctor of Philosophy
Although the concept of social dominance lacks adequate definition it has been commonly understood as the most important determinant of social behaviour within groups. This thesis first demonstrates the inadequacy of using arbitrary competitive tests frequently employed as measures of dominance, and then it examines and rejects the alternative grooming index. In an attempt to defend the concept competitive tests are re-examined and changes in both the conditions of competition and the dependent variables are explored. Finally, the experimental investigation into dominance measurement is abandoned in favour of a theoretical approach to the problems of measurement, function and definition. These three areas are shown to be inter-dependent, with the problem of definition being fundamental. An analysis of possible types of definition shows that no definition of "dominance" will suffice unless the term acquires an entirely new and restricted meaning. NOTE: Figures 01 - 04 described in Experiment 1 and the data from which they were obtained were destroyed in a fire at the Addington Showground on September 13, 1975. Their descriptions and results of statistical tests, however, were presented in Chapter 2.