“Though visible signs of the ability to prevail in a fight are the most salient advertisements of authority, they are not necessarily the qualifications that earned the authority in the first place. Dominance in humans is tied up with status: the possession of assets like talent, beauty, intelligence, skill, and wisdom. And in the end, dominance and status are social constructions that depend crucially on the perception of others and of oneself. How much authority one possesses depends on how much authority one is prepared to claim, and on how much authority others are willing to cede to you.” – Steven Pinker, “The evolutionary social psychology of off-record indirect speech acts”

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