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The surprising science of alpha males | Frans de Waal

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The surprising science of alpha males | Frans de Waal

In this fascinating look at the alpha male, primatologist Frans de Waal explores the privileges and costs of power while drawing surprising parallels between how humans and primates choose their leaders. His research reveals some of the unexpected capacities of alpha males -- generosity, empathy, even peacekeeping -- and sheds light on the power struggles of human politicians. Someone who is big and strong and intimidates and insults everyone is not necessarily an alpha male, de Waal says.

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Do "Alpha Males" Exist?

Alpha Males are a controversial topic. But do alpha males exist in humans or do they only exist in the animal kingdom? Why am I using the alpha male terminology even though it creates some misunderstandings and why you should watch Frans de Waals ted talk: the surprising science of alpha males. We'll discuss all these alpha male questions in todays video.

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Why the 'alpha male' stereotype is wrong | Frans de Waal

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Big and strong? That's not what makes an alpha male, says primatolgist Frans de Waal.

- The cultural notion of an alpha male as a strong, mean aggressor is rampant but wrong. The reality is more complex.

- Frans de Waal notes two types of alpha males: Bullies and leaders. In chimpanzee society, the former terrorizes the group while the latter mediates conflict.

- The reign of alpha male bullies usually ends poorly in the wild. Chimpanzee bullies get expelled or even killed by their group, while leader alphas are somewhat democratically kept in power, sometimes for as long as 12 years.

Frans de Waal is a Dutch/American biologist and primatologist. He teaches at Emory University and directs the Living Links Center for the Study of Ape and Human Evolution, in Atlanta, Georgia. He is known for his popular books, such as Chimpanzee Politics (1982), Bonobo: The Forgotten Ape (1997) and The Age of Empathy (2009). He has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences and the Royal Dutch Academy of Sciences. His latest book is Mama's Last Hug: Animal Emotions and What They Tell Us about Ourselves (

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Why people (and chimps) throw temper tantrums | Frans de Waal

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Primatologist Frans de Waal explains the primal instinct that unites humans and chimpanzees.

- Humans throw temper tantrums when they feel frustrated, lose power, or sense a threat to their status or security.

- Chimpanzees exhibit the same behavior; alpha male chimps who lose their status throw tantrums to elicit sympathy from their group, hoping to have their power restored.

- But that tactic almost never works, notes primatologist Frans de Waal. An important lesson for humans from chimps.

Frans de Waal is a Dutch/American biologist and primatologist. He teaches at Emory University and directs the Living Links Center for the Study of Ape and Human Evolution, in Atlanta, Georgia. He is known for his popular books, such as Chimpanzee Politics (1982), Bonobo: The Forgotten Ape (1997) and The Age of Empathy (2009). He has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences and the Royal Dutch Academy of Sciences. His latest book is Mama's Last Hug: Animal Emotions and What They Tell Us about Ourselves (

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The Age of Empathy Audiobook by Frans de Waal

The Age of Empathy Audiobook by Frans de Waal

Dr. Frans de Waal - The Feelings of Animals

Science journalist Lone Frank speaks with professor Frans de Waal, who is doing research into non-human animals and non-human animal behaviour at Emory University i Atlanta, Georgia, among other places.

The interview touches upon issues like whether non-human animals are feeling in the same way we are, whether they for instance can feel love, jealousy and empathy and whether they can act outright evil.

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For more information about animal sentience, see for instance The Cambridge Declaration of Consciousness:
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Morality without religion. Frans de Waal (2011)

Human morality is older than our current religions, and may go back to tendencies observable in other mammals. In a bottom-up view of morality, this talk is one man's road to discovering an array of positive tendencies in animals at a time when competition and aggression were the only themes.
Source: TEDx Talks

Franciscus Bernardus Maria Frans de Waal (born 29 October 1948) is a Dutch primatologist and ethologist. He is the Charles Howard Candler professor of Primate Behavior at the Emory University psychology department in Atlanta, Georgia, and director of the Living Links Center at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center and author of numerous books including Chimpanzee Politics and Our Inner Ape. His research centers on primate social behavior, including conflict resolution, cooperation, inequity aversion, and food-sharing. He is a member of the United States National Academy of Sciences and the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Source: Wikipedia
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Frans De Waal Says Primates Can Teach Us A Great Deal About The Origins Of Justice, Power And Morali

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Frans de Waal is director of the Living Links Center at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center and a professor of psychology at Emory University. His current research includes food-sharing, social reciprocity and conflict-resolution in primates,

3 Problems With The Alpha Male Archetype

Who doesn’t want to be the alpha male? He is confident, smart, successful, strong and does great with the ladies. He’s a leader of men and has top a position in the so called dominance hierarchy. Well, if we believe dating coaches, pick up artists and dr. Jordan Peterson, the alpha male archetype doesn’t only exist, but it’s highly recommended that you become one yourself.

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References:

Wayne, C. (2010, December 21). The Ultimate Alpha Male [Blog post]. Retrieved August 6, 2018, from

Wothe, K. (2016, May 4). Chimpanzee group aggression against alpha male (UPDATED) [Video file]. Retrieved August 6, 2018, from

Hosie, R. (2017, May 9). The Myth Of The Alpha Male. Retrieved August 7, 2018, from

Peterson, J. (2017, April 27). 2017 Maps of Meaning 10: Genesis and the Buddha [Video file]. Retrieved August 9, 2018, from

Langer, W. C. (1972). The mind of Adolf Hitler: The secret wartime report. Basic Books (AZ). (pp. 149).

Rosenbaum, R. (2014). Explaining Hitler: The search for the origins of his evil. Hachette UK. (pp. 134).

Paikin, S. (2012, May 9). Depression: A Family Affair [Video file]. Retrieved August 10, 2018, from

Kearney, C. (2018, August 11). Richard Z. Kruspe Highest-Paid Guitarist in the World. Retrieved August 11, 2018, from

Richard VOX Interview Depressionen [Video file]. (2013, May 13). Retrieved August 11, 2018, from

De Waal, F. (2018, July 9). The surprising science of alpha males | Frans de Waal [Video file]. Retrieved August 8, 2018, from

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Morals Without God? Frans de Waal and Jeff Schloss discuss at Emory University

- Join The Veritas Forum for an in-depth conversation on evolution, morality, and religion between two experts, Professors Frans de Waal and Jeff Schloss.

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Over the past two decades, The Veritas Forum has been hosting vibrant discussions on life's hardest questions and engaging the world's leading colleges and universities with Christian perspectives and the relevance of Jesus. Learn more at with upcoming events and over 600 pieces of media on topics including science, philosophy, music, business, medicine, and more!
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What evidence is there that animals are conscious beings? | Frans de Waal

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Consciousness has long been difficult to define, whether you're a biologist, neuroscientist, or philosopher.

So Frans de Waal looks at what actions humans take that require conscious thought.

Comparing them to actions in certain animals suggests consciousness is not a human trait alone.
Frans de Waal is a Dutch/American biologist and primatologist. He teaches at Emory University and directs the Living Links Center for the Study of Ape and Human Evolution, in Atlanta, Georgia. He is known for his popular books, such as Chimpanzee Politics (1982), Bonobo: The Forgotten Ape (1997) and The Age of Empathy (2009). He has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences and the Royal Dutch Academy of Sciences. His latest book is Mama's Last Hug: Animal Emotions and What They Tell Us about Ourselves (

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Animal emotions and empathy with Frans de Waal

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Do animals show empathy? Are there any signs of morality in animal societies? Can a monkey distinguish right from wrong? And what are the standards of what is right and what is not? Does morality evolve in time both for human societies and animal societies?

It is hard to imagine that empathy—a characteristic so basic to the human species that it emerges early in life, and is accompanied by strong physiological reactions—came into existence only when our lineage split off from that of the apes. It must be far older than that. Examples of empathy in other animals would suggest a long evolutionary history to this capacity in humans. Over the last several decades, we’ve seen increasing evidence of empathy in other species. Emotions suffuse much of the language employed by students of animal behavior -- from social bonding to alarm calls -- yet are often avoided as explicit topic in scientific discourse. Given the increasing interest of human psychology in the emotions, and the neuroscience on animal emotions such as fear and attachment, the taboo that has hampered animal research in this area is outdated. The main point is to separate emotions from feelings, which are subjective experiences that accompany the emotions. Whereas science has no access to animal feelings, animal emotions are as observable and measurable as human emotions. They are mental and bodily states that potentiate behavior appropriate to both social and nonsocial situations. The expression of emotions in face and body language is well known, the study of which began with Darwin. Frans de Waal will discuss early ideas about animal emotions and draw upon research on empathy and the perception of emotions in primates to make the point that the study of animal emotions is a necessary complement to the study of behavior. Emotions are best viewed as the organizers of adaptive responses to environmental stimuli. If you like this kind of stuff you should read: Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are?
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Alpha Male - National Geographic Study (MUST SEE)

How to be alpha male? This video will show you the traits of an alpha male and what a beta male is.

Watch how alpha and beta males interact with one another.

This is property of National Geographic.

The video shows the traits and characteristics of ALPHA and BETA males.

Learn how to be alpha.

Chimpanzees and Dominance Hierarchies | Jordan B Peterson

A discussion on chimpanzees, dominance hierarchies and how humans evolved.

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Why alpha males don't always get the ladies | FameLab

Zoologist Dr Joanna Bagniewska, FameLab finalist in 2014, explains why alpha males don't always succeed in the animal kingdom in the way we might expect.

FameLab is an international science communication competition by Cheltenham Science Festivals and the British Council.

Dr Bagniewska is a teaching fellow at the University of Reading and won the International Alumni Award at the FameLab final in 2014.

Read more about how to become a science communicator and take part in FameLab 2017 here:

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Photo Statue of David © Dennis Hill, licenced under CC BY 2.0 and adapted from the original
Photo of swinging orangutan © Arian Zwegers, licenced under CC BY 2.0 and adapted from the original
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Photo of gorilla holding placard © Eric Kilby, licenced under CC BY 2.0 and adapted from the original
Photo of big and impressive gorilla © angela n., licenced under CC BY 2.0 and adapted from the original
Photo of lion © Russ, licenced under CC BY 2.0 and adapted from the original
Photo of elephant seal © Anita Ritenour., licenced under CC BY 2.0 and adapted from the original
Photo of ‘uh-oh’ gorilla © angela n., licenced under CC BY 2.0 and adapted from the original
Photo ‘chasing gorilla’ © Matthew Hoelscher., licenced under CC BY 2.0 and adapted from the original
Video of red deer stag ©Berrea 2013, licenced under CC BY 3.0 and adapted from the original
Photo iguana © Joanna Bagniewska, adapted from the original and used with permission
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Photo ‘unimpressive gorilla’ © Adrian Scottow, licenced under CC BY 2.0 and adapted from the original
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TEDxEmory - Dr Frans De Waal - Monkey Business 101, How Animals Cooperate

Chimpanzee Politics by Franz De Waal

What can chimpanzees teach us about power? The book of the week explores this topic. I read “Chimpanzee Politics” by Franz De Waal because I heard politician Newt Gingrich credited much of his political success to it.

No doubt I can see why.

When it comes to being the alpha in the group, I found that there were 3 keys to it and this definitely translates to the professional world:

1. Be a Good Fighter
🐵 Be strong, fast, skilled at fighting other chimps
👨‍💼👩‍💼 Be less agreeable, win debates, be a subject matter authority to gain power

2. Have a Unique and Creative Expertise
🐵 Solve problems that other chimps can’t like finding food
👨‍💼👩‍💼 Solve problems and be strategic in ways others can’t

3. Form Social Bonds
🐵 Spend time grooming other chimps, let others eat first before you, be nurturing
👨‍💼👩‍💼 Be a team player, be genuinely interested in helping others, be a servant leader.

Which of these 3 are you strongest in? Comment below.

Jordan Peterson: Alpha males & everyone below them

Jordan Peterson talks in this video about dominance hierarchies (which include Alpha males, Beta males, Zeta males, etc) and other interesting things. Peterson's 12 Rules for Life audiobook:

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This video comes from professor Peterson's: 2017 Personality 07: Carl Jung ... (Part 1)



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The Sad Truth About Alpha Males

Primates and Philosophers Audiobook by Frans de Waal

Primates and Philosophers Audiobook by Frans de Waal

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