skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 69768 Find in a Library
Title: Dominance Behavior and Violence - A Multidisciplinary View of the Causes of Violent Offenses
Author(s): J J M vanDijk
Date Published: 1977
Page Count: 165
Sponsoring Agency: Dekker & Van de Vegt
Nijmegen, Netherlands
Sale Source: Dekker & Van de Vegt
Fransestr 30
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Language: Dutch
Country: Netherlands
Annotation: Causes of juvenile gang violence and domestic violence are explored by examining findings of ethologists on human and animal dominance behavior.
Abstract: The book deals specifically with criminological theories of violent crime, the ethological approach to behavior, fighting and dominance in humans and animals, and causes of crime from a multidisciplinary perspective. Criminological research has revealed that both violence of gangs against other gangs and violence of family members against each other tends to be motivated by the need for social prestige and sensitivity to status threats, especially in the case of adolescent and adult males. By applying the principles of behavioral psychology, or ethology, an attempt is made to determine whether or not a definite universal pattern can be found in animal aggression. The regularity with which males of a certain species carry out charging displays can be explained through a 'hierarchic-cybernetical' model. According to this model, the goal-orientedness of the reproductive system is based on the activity of hierarchically-structured functional centers in the central nervous system. Specific stimuli from the environment determine which concrete action patterns are displayed by the animal, and the effects of these patterns are fed back to the higher centers of the system. Males of several species studied are strongly motivated to exhibit dominant behavior when they perceive that the dominance relationships between them and a neighboring conspecific have become unstable. Likewise, human males seem to be inclined to impress their rivals with charging displays (or substitutes) and violent attacks when their status is threatened. The urge for prestige appears to be a universal characteristic of human males. In industrialized societies which fail to provide adolescent males with sophisticated means of impressing their peers, adolescents in gangs are likely to resort to violence to prove their worth. Domestic violence appears to occur most commonly when the victim insults the offender. It is recommended that measures for prevention of gang violence focus on providing high-risk adolescents with alternative opportunities for status-gain and that future victimological studies of violent crimes examine carefully the past relationships between offenders and victims. Thus, according to the ethological view, certain categories of violent crime are related to characteristics deeply rooted in human males, but these characteristics do not manifest themselves in a criminal way if specific social and cultural conditions have been fulfilled. Figures and a bibliography are supplied.
Index Term(s): Aggression; Behavioral science research; Crime Causes; Crisis management; Cultural influences; Domestic assault; Industrialization; Motivation; Peer influences on behavior; Social conditions; Sociology of law; Violent crimes
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.