For a symposium at European Association for Social Psychology conference 2017. Topics discussed include theoretical problems with measuring and defining "dominance," the long evolutionary history of lobsters and the serotonergic system, including parallels with UFC fighters, predicting elections with unfortunate accuracy, a model of leadership as an internal regulatory variable, methods for investigating the effects of facial masculinity on voting preferences, and the results of preliminary work in this area.
On a short timescale, the outcome of successive dominance interactions between two individuals may not always have the same directionality. For instance, one may ‘provoke’ the other with an aggressive act but then the recipient of retaliatory aggression, or their relative willingness to contest resource ownership may fluctuate with their relative energetic states (hungrier animals will value a food resource more highly). In order to damp out this variation, researchers typically calculate the average value of the interactions between a pair over a defined period of time (perhaps several hours or days, depending on the species). This average value then constitutes the numeric representation of the relationship between them. On a longer timescale, perhaps months or years, the relationships may themselves change, for instance as younger individuals grow larger and start to win contests over older ones. These dynamics can be captured by using a sliding time window. This is moved over the interaction data and the average is periodically recalculated to represent the state of the dominance relationship at that time.
“Winner and loser effects” (Hsu et al. 2006). Other things being equal, the losers of previous fights are more likely to lose against future opponents, whereas winners are often more likely to win again. Has been found in species of bird, mammal, crustacean, fish, insect, arachnid and reptile (Hsu et al. 2006). Intriguingly, the loser effect is usually stronger than the winner effect, which in some cases is absent altogether (Rutte et al. 2006).
The problem is that such models lead to dominance either: Collapsing on single non-zero value Becoming bimodal
Payne: I present a ‘cumulative assessment model’, which describes dyadic antagonistic encounters in which a contestant’s decision whether to persist or to flee is based upon a cumulative sum of its adversary’s actions. It is particularly relevant to ritualized fights in which only a certain total of direct physical damage can be tolerated, but it can also be applied to displays without physical contact provided they are subject to external time costs (such as from predation risk). The cumulative assessment model provides an alternative to the sequential assessment model or the war of attrition as a description of temporally extended displays. I describe how the three may be distinguishable in real situations by consideration of escalatory properties and of characteristic intrapopulation variation. The model predicts that, under some circumstances, losers may start the encounter at a lower level of intensity but increase that level more rapidly than winners.
Importance of Context Prototypes Cues and Signals
(1) Urgent challenges - Locally relevant, ,fragile (2) If there’s no context, there’s no real need to search for leader. And charismatic leader index isn’t affected / relevant. Actually one of the “jobs” of cha leaders is to make sure people are triggered. IT may be that searching isn’t necessary, though we would expect that followers should still be more attuned to cues and signals than otherwise. This kind of explains the big man, because normally there’s really only one candidate, he’s already got the index jacked up to 11 This also explains why we remain sensitive to cues and signals, or are even more so, in larger, more distributed societies that have more candidates (3) Followers are more attuned to cues and signals (4) Endorsements or invoking past leaders, ancestors, is another way of increasing prestige by association (5) When this breaks down, you have the routinization, explains diminishing charisma over time
Presentation of the 7 photos was randomized to minimize any potential order effects. For each face, participants were randomly assigned to either the masculinized or feminized condition, so that they were asked to make their ratings underneath a photograph of the candidate’s face which had been artificially “morphed” to appear either more masculine or feminine than the original (see Materials for examples). *As of Feb 19, 2016 when the study was run, this included Ben Carson, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and Donald Trump
War Condition Prompt: As you know, there are still several candidates currently running for president. Whoever ends up winning the presidential election will need to address several issues to ensure that our country remains a powerful player on the international stage. Here are a few of the most urgent issues facing the next president.
Confronting Russia and ChinaMost experts agree that one of the key tasks for American leadership in the near future will be to confront Vladimir Putin and put a stop to his aggressive and dangerous expansionism. Doing so will require the next President to project an image of strength, and to ensure that our military remains powerful enough to deter Putin from further intervention in the EU or the Middle East. A similar task confronts American leadership in regards to China. For example, the Council on Foreign Relations recently published a report indicating that as a result of increasing territorial disputes and China's recent push to increase and modernize their naval forces in the region, the "risk of conflict in the South China Sea is significant," and that capabilities being developed by the Chinese "would put U.S. forces in the region at risk in a conflict." Fighting Illegal ImmigrationAnother key task for the next president will be to protect our borders from the threat of illegal immigration. Some candidates have suggested that without stricter border control and harsher penalties for those who have already entered the country, illegal immigration will cause serious harm to both the American culture and our economy. Without firm leadership in this area, the country could ultimately be so weakened from within that many in the middle- and lower-classes might lose both their jobs and their way of life.
Defeating Terrorism:America is currently involved in active military intervention in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria. One of the great challenges for the next President will be to continue leading the global war on terrorism - identifying the leaders of organizations such as Al-Qaeda and ISIS, weakening their social networks and economic infrastructure, and ultimately eradicating them before they can carry out further attacks on innocent civilians at home or abroad.
Peace Condition Prompt: As you know, there are still several candidates currently running for president. Whoever ends up winning the presidential election will need to address several issues to ensure that our country continues to be a respected, peaceful and prosperous member of the international community. Here are a few of the most urgent issues facing the next president.
Negotiating with Russia and ChinaMost Americans agree that one of the key tasks for American leadership in the near future will be to come to some resolution with Vladimir Putin regarding the limits of his recent political and military expansionism. To do that will require the next President to work multilaterally with not only Russia and former Soviet states, but with allies in the EU and the Middle East as well. A similar task confronts American leadership in regards to China. For example, the Council on Foreign Relations recently published a report indicating that if territorial disputes in the South China Sea are not adequately resolved, there is a significant risk that these tensions could lead to a conflict which would put U.S. forces at risk. Ultimately, the task facing the next President will be to demonstrate our willingness and ability to negotiate and act in good faith, with the aim of brokering a peaceful resolution to these long-standing disputes.
Reaching a Consensus on Illegal ImmigrationAnother key task for the next president will be to work with Congress to craft sensible legislation addressing concerns surrounding illegal immigration. While these issues are contentious, and achieving a true consensus may prove impossible, the challenge facing our next President will be to leverage their leadership position to achieve meaningful bipartisan compromise so that concrete steps can be taken to address these concerns.
Reducing the Spread of TerrorismOne of the great challenges for the next President will be to continue leading the global war on terrorism. However, while a substantial portion of Americans support continued military intervention in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria, many analysts have begun to cast doubt on the idea that terrorism can ever be truly “defeated” through military means. Instead, they argue that our most important goal should be to target their ability to recruit and train new extremists. To do this, the next President must get serious about disrupting the ideological narratives being taught by extremist Imams and forced on populations with no real alternatives. Instead, we should work with our allies to create our own training centers in Africa, Asia, Europe and North America that can counter the extremist narratives and educate at-risk populations about alternative moderate Islamic practices.
EASP 2017 - Facial dominance and power
POWER &Allen Grabo - EASP 2017
-WHAT IS DOMINANCE?
Traditionally inferred from an animals’ overt
• Sequences of dominance interactions allow
observers to map the dominance structure of a
• Physical attacks
• Threats and signals of submission
• Displacement at a feeding site
Typically such interactions have a clear ‘winner’ and
Cretaceous (~140 million years
Born 14 July, 1988Serotonin:
? Predates the development of
“WINNER AND LOSER”
The problem with only observing wins and losses is that:
• Winner effects alone lead to a strict linear hierarchy
• Loser effects alone lead to a despotic outcome
Without information about opponent, ESS depends
on costs of persisting - until lowest RHP loses.
CONTEXT, CUES AND
Cumulative Assessment Model (Payne, 1998):
• Costs are also imposed by the actions of their
opponents, decision to persist or flee depends on sum
of others’ actions
• Over time individuals learn to avoid engaging, or to
In other words…heuristics:
• Paying attention to fitness-relevant information about
• Influenced by contextual factors and physical cues
ELT: Leadership and followership depend on such
HEURISTICS IN THE VOTING
“The idea that you can merchandise candidates for high
office like breakfast cereal — that you can gather votes like
box tops — is, I think, the ultimate indignity to the
democratic process.” ~Adlai Stevenson
EVOLUTION & LEADERSHIP
How did leadership and followership evolve?
•Began with pairs of foraging hunter-gatherers (in EEA)
•Lead to dominance hierarchies (with agriculture?)
•Checked by development of egalitarian norms
•Resulted in the kinds of formalized leadership we see
EVOLUTION & LEADERSHIP
Why is it adaptive?
• Provides access to greater resources
• Allows for migration to new environments
• Maintains a stable social environment
• Regulates intergroup relations
FACIAL CUES AND
(VAN VUGT & GRABO, 2016)
Leader Attribute Facial Cues Adaptive Domains Follower Heuristic Example
Height to Width
Competence Symmetry / FA Knowledge
Skin Coloration Disease /
Follow attractive /
FACIAL DOMINANCE AS A
• One of the best predictors is facial masculinity
(Todorov et al., 2015; Re & Rule, 2017).
• More masculine faces (squared face, strong
jaw lines, pronounced eye brows, thin eyes
and lips) are judged as more dominant.
• Dominant-looking individuals are more likely
to be judged as leaders (Spisak et al, 2012).
• Physical strength (Blaker & Van Vugt, 2014)
would have been a reliable indicator of one’s
ability to resolve such conflicts (as it is in
• Faces of soldiers rated more dominant than
politicians and businessmen (Mazur et al.,
• Cadets with a more dominant-looking face
climb attain a higher future rank (Mueller &
• Masculine faces favored when people were
asked to vote for a war-time leader (Little et
• Replicated using both morphed faces (Spisak,
Homan et al., 2012) and real faces in Western
and non-Western samples (Spisak, Dekker et
TESTING IN THE “REAL
Previous research has found that more masculine-
looking leaders are preferred in contexts of intergroup
competition, while feminine-looking leaders are
preferred for intragroup cooperation. However, there are
still several questions regarding the generalizability of
these results which we believe could provide further
support for this theory:
• Selection of leader candidates
• External Validity
• Hypothetical Scenarios
• Followership Investment
We sought to address these issues by testing whether
participants would prefer masculinized or feminized
versions of the actual candidates in the 2016 US
H1: Consistent with the Evolutionary Contingency
Hypothesis, we predicted that followers who perceive a
match between the context (war or peace) and a leader
candidate’s physical cues (masculinized or feminized
faces) will rate them more positively on both personality
attributes and leadership ability.
Participants. 298 Americans (183 males, 115 females;
Scenarios. Randomly assigned to either the war or peace
Faces. Shown masculinized or feminized photos of the
candidates currently running for President
Ratings. Underneath each face participants were asked to
indicate, on a 7-point Likert-type scale, how strongly
they would agree with the following descriptions of the
Trustworthy, Warm, Competent, Attractive, Dominant,
Finally, they were asked to assess their leadership
RESULTS - PERSONALITY
Attribute Condition N MDiff SE F P
Peace 140 -1.76 .88
War 158 1.43 .83 6.94 <.01
Peace 140 -2.10 .87
War 158 1.42 .82 8.64 <.01
Peace 140 -1.90 .847
War 158 1.48 .797 8.45 <.01
Peace 140 -1.54 .85
War 158 1.24 .80 5.60 .02
Peace 140 -2.04 .86
War 158 1.40 .81 8.47 <.01
Peace 140 .77 1.08
War 158 3.36 1.01 3.083 .04
Figure 1 – Estimated marginal mean differences in personality
attributions between war and peace conditions. Negative values
indicate a preference for the feminized version, positive values
RESULTS - COMBINED
•Participants evaluated feminized faces more
positively in the peace condition (M=-1.87,
SD=9.54) but gave higher ratings to
masculinized faces in the war condition (M=1.40,
SD=10.30; F[1,298]=7.97, p<.01, η²=.03).
•We find the same interaction effect in ratings of
leadership potential between feminized
versions in the peace condition (M=.77,
SD=12.94) and masculinized faces in the war
condition (M=3.36, SD=12.53; F[1,298]=3.09, p=.04,
•However, the positive numbers for both results
indicate that participants preferred the
masculinized versions overall.