Agonistic Behavior

Agonistic Behavior

The word agonistic comes from the ancient Greek word for the contest; agonistic behaviors are behaviors that relate to a contest. The different attitudes and behaviors associated with fighting fit under this behavior category. Submission, aggression, retreat, and attack are all agonistic behaviors. If you’ve ever watched two dogs meet for the first time they often go through stages of the competition.

One of them may start by acting submissive as if to say “you are the boss.” The other dog may approach with aggressive behavior, and they may circle each other suspiciously. People display these behaviors as well, especially if there is some immediate threat to safety or well-being. A shortage of food in a community might cause agonistic behaviors in the people who live there.


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