Agonistic Behavior

by Roger Abrantes

Course Description

Agonistic Behavior is all forms of aggression, threat, fear, pacifying behavior, fight or flight, arising from confrontations between individuals of the same species. This course gives you the scientific definitions and facts. More than that, it also gives you a critical review of popular interpretations and misinterpretations of these terms, helping you to evaluate information and develop your scientific views.

Agonistic Behavior is one of our most challenging courses addressed to the genuine student of behavioral sciences. Its subject-matter is essential to understand behavior and behavior modification techniques.

Course Level

Intermediate to Advanced. It is a challenging course which requires an active effort from the student. However, you will feel handsomely rewarded by the knowledge and insight, you will have acquired upon completion.

Course Textbook

“Agonistic Behavior—On Aggressive, Fearful, Dominant, Submissive, and Pacifying Behavior”

by Roger Abrantes, Ph.D. in Evolutionary Biology and Ethology.


In this course, you won’t get the book. Instead, you’ll read texts especially prepared for each lesson.


Course content

Lesson One:

  1. The Conundrum of the Behavioral Sciences
  2. Evolutionarily Stable Strategies and Behavior
  3. Ethogram—Social and Agonistic Behavior

Lesson Two

  1. Maternal Behavior
  2. The Origin of Pacifying Behavior
  3. Pacifying Behaviors

Lesson Three

  1. Fearful Behavior
  2. Aggressive Behavior

Lesson Four

  1. Dominant and Submissive Behavior
  2. A Critical Analysis of the Concepts of Dominance and Aggression

Lesson Five

  1. Let Reason Prevail Over Force


All lessons contain numerous references for your further studying.

Supplementary Literature

Although not mandatory, we recommend that you supplement your readings with:

Online Studying and Tutoring

Read the texts. Join the course forum where you can read our tutors’ answers to questions previously posed by your colleagues. If you have a new question, do not hesitate in posting it.

The course forum is solely for academic questions. For administrative matters or difficulties accessing the functionality of the site, please submit a ticket.

Once you’re ready for it, take the quizzes. You may take a quiz as many times as you like. We recommend you re-take quizzes once a year as a self-imposed quality control.

Roger Abrantes

Ph.D. in Evolutionary Biology and Ethology, BA in Philosophy. Author to 27 books, speaks seven languages. Retired in 2016, lectured on Ethology, Evolutionary Biology, and Epistemology. Currently writing articles and blogs and occasionally sailing and diving in Thailand.

View all articles by Roger Abrantes

Ethology Institute