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Am J Primatol. 2006 Feb;68(2):189-207.

Describing the organization of dominance relationships by dominance-directed tree method.

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Department of Experimental Psychology, University of São Paulo, Brazil.


Methods to describe dominance hierarchies are a key tool in primatology studies. Most current methods are appropriate for analyzing linear and near-linear hierarchies; however, more complex structures are common in primate groups. We propose a method termed "dominance-directed tree." This method is based on graph theory and set theory to analyze dominance relationships in social groups. The method constructs a transitive matrix by imposing transitivity to the dominance matrix and produces a graphical representation of the dominance relationships, which allows an easy visualization of the hierarchical position of the individuals, or subsets of individuals. The method is also able to detect partial and complete hierarchies, and to describe situations in which hierarchical and nonhierarchical principles operate. To illustrate the method, we apply a dominance tree analysis to artificial data and empirical data from a group of Cebus apella.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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