Multidimensional nature of dominant behavior: Insights from behavioral neuroscience

Kateryna Murlanova, Michael Kirby, Lev Libergod, Mikhail Pletnikov, Albert Pinhasov

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Social interactions for many species of animals are critical for survival, wellbeing, and reproduction. Optimally navigation of a social system increases chances for survival and reproduction, therefore there is strong incentive to fit into social structures. Social animals rely heavily on dominant-submissive behaviors in establishment of stable social hierarchies. There is a link between extreme manifestation of dominance/submissiveness and behavioral deviations. To understand neural substrates affiliated with a specific hierarchical rank, there is a real need for reliable animal behavioral models. Different paradigms have been consolidated over time to study the neurobiology of social rank behavior in a standardized manner using rodent models to unravel the neural pathways and substrates involved in normal and abnormal intraspecific social interactions. This review summarizes and discusses the commonly used behavioral tests and new directions for the assessment of dominance in rodents. We discuss the hierarchy inheritable nature and other critical issues regarding hierarchical rank manifestation which may help in designing social-rank-related studies that serve as promising pre-clinical tools in behavioral psychiatry.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)603-620
Number of pages18
JournalNeuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews
StatePublished - Jan 2022


  • Dominance
  • Rodents
  • Social behavior paradigms
  • Social hierarchy
  • Submissiveness


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