The Human Nature of Violence
— By Robin Fox

Part 3.

High levels of serotonin seem to promote calmness and confidence, which is why many antidepressant drugs deliberately seek to increase serotonin levels in humans. Of course, there are two animals involved and diagram 3 shows the synchronized escalation sequence for such a two-animal encounter.

Escalation of Conflict

A initiates the interaction here, and B responds step by step until phase 5: Attack. At this point, B holds his ground, and A falls back one step to mere Menace and then to Display. He proceeds up again to Menace and Attack, but we already see that he has been the one to back down first, and when the Ritual Fighting spills over into real Violence at 7, it is B again who holds his ground and A who short circuits by witbdrawal and fleeing while B goes into a Triumph Display. This is a fairly short sequence and could be over in a couple of minutes. In some species, such escalations and de-escalations can go on for hours.

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