Do Bullies Win?
All too commonly, we see aggressive, bullying individuals in positions of influence and power. The frequency with which these individuals occupy the top echelon begs the question: does aggression and bullying help people rise to the top of social hierarchies? According to dominance theory, the answer is “yes”: individuals can attain influence by intimidating others and forcing them to defer. Dominance theory has become very popular in the field and is commonly taken on faith. In this talk I take a critical look at dominance theory, arguing why dominance is unlikely to help individuals gain influence in the long run. I then summarize the evidence cited as supportive of dominance theory, and discuss how it can be explained instead with prestige theory - which argues that individuals attain influence by appearing to provide value to their group. Finally, I present findings that can help explain why people so commonly believe dominance is an effective route to the top, even when it is not.
Event Type: 
Berkeley Way West
Wednesday, February 13, 2019
Event Sponsor: 
Personality and Social Research, Institute of
Event Speakers: 
Cameron Anderson