In men, high levels of endogenous testosterone (T) seem to encourage behavior intended to dominate other people. Sometimes dominant behavior is aggressive, its apparent intent being to inflict harm on another person, but often dominance is expressed nonaggressively. Sometimes dominant behavior takes the form of antisocial behavior, including rebellion against authority and law breaking. Measurement of T at a single point in time, presumably indicative of a man's basal T level, predicts many of these dominant or antisocial behaviors. T not (...) only affects behavior but also responds to it. The act of competing for dominant status affects male T levels in two ways. First, T rises in the face of a challenge, as if it were an anticipatory response to impending competition. Second, after the competition, T rises in winners and declines in losers. Thus, there is a reciprocity between T and dominance behavior, each affecting the other. We contrast a reciprocal model, in which T level is variable, acting as both a cause and effect of behavior, with a basal model, in which T level is assumed to be a persistent trait that influences behavior. An unusual data set on Air Force veterans, in which data were collected four times over a decade, enables us to compare the basal and reciprocal models as explanations for the relationship between T and divorce. We discuss sociological implications of these models. (shrink)
This Response focuses on the strength of the testosterone (T) dominance relationship, the circumstances under which aggression accompanies dominance, the viability of the basal model, mediators and moderators of the T-dominance relationship, and the research that is needed.
Collins provides a grand theory that unifies all forms of human violence occurring in face-to-face situations, ranging from spousal abuse to medieval warfare. Laitin appreciates Collins's microscopic analysis of diverse data but points to important shortcomings in the theory, especially Collins's metaphoric explanations that are not testable. Here Collins's theory is merged with an existing biosocial model of dominance, replacing the metaphors with tangible, measurable hormonal mechanisms.
Dialogue requires ability beyond the production and comprehension of word strings. The interactive alignment account is good as far as it goes, but it must be embedded in a broader model encompassing alignment of paralinguistic representations.