This idea is embarrassingly obvious in retrospect. Analogous ideas:
The final piece of this fell into place for me somewhere in the comment thread of the previous post on Gammas and resources. Alpha males are defined not just by confidence, or a pattern of success, or what have you: they are defined by an all-consuming dedication to seeking out opportunities to WIN. We can tentatively and naively define WINNING as the experience of adrenaline followed by a testosterone boost and dopamine. A sustained, heightened level of hormones can have massive effects on phenotype, giving rise to entirely new features like eye flanges in orangutans or coloration changes in silverback gorillas. Eventually, the dopamine rushes will rewrite the brain to produce a fixation on the behavior that produced the goodfeelz.
Brash, brawny and keen to impose their will on anyone who enters their sphere of existence: the alpha male in action is unmistakable.
Now scientists claim to have pinpointed the biological root of domineering behaviour. New research has located a brain circuit that, when activated in mice, transformed timid individuals into bold alpha mice that almost always prevailed in aggressive social encounters.
In some cases, the social ranking of the subordinate mice soared after the scientists’ intervention, hinting that it might be possible to acquire “alphaness” simply by adopting the appropriate mental attitude. Or as Donald Trump might put it: “My whole life is about winning. I almost never lose.”