By James Silverberg, J. Patrick Gray
This ebook explores the function of aggression in primate social structures and its implications for human habit.
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Extra info for Aggression and Peacefulness in Humans and Other Primates
That is what we call aggression or aggressiveness or assertiveness and a host of terms which simultaneously reflect such assertiveness and some point along the violence scale where the initiation occurs: competitiveness, intensity, forcefulness, hostility, combativeness, etc. Much remains to be done to refine, operationalize, and utilize these concepts, but we believe this helps to clarify the relation between aggression and violence.
When status is used inconsistently, both as a synonym for rank or prestige and as the label for types of social positions, ambiguity often results. Note, however, that once statuses are clearly identified as social units, it is valid to discuss if and how particular statuses are ranked or ordered in a hierarchy. Second, we are wary of the common practice of identifying the behaviors observed in a single troop or colony as characteristics of an entire species. This practice is becoming less common as primatology becomes more aware of the need to study a species in many different ecological conditions.
Among rhesus, as among Japanese macaques (Kurland 1977), high levels of both affiliative and agonistic behavior characterize the relations between close kin. De Waal's results suggest that older relatives use mild violence to teach their younger relatives "rules of conduct," rules of behavior that must be learned if the younger animals are to mature socially. This use of what de Waal labels "constructive aggression" may benefit the younger animal later in life by saving it from making social blunders in situations with potential for serious aggression.