“The proliferation of blogs and emails may be partially responsible for the increase in anger of recent years. We can learn a lot about the emotions that motivate many blogs and emails, as well as reactions to them, from, believe it or not, a few observations of animals.

Anger, for instance, is the fight part of the primitive fight/flight/freeze response common to all mammals. It functions primarily to protect self and juvenile offspring from harm. Activation of the fight/flight/freeze response requires a dual perception of threat and vulnerability. Animals respond to lesser threats with greater anger, fear, or submission (freeze) when they are wounded, starving, sick, or recently traumatized.

The activation of fight over flight/freeze is determined by the annihilation potential of the threat. A raccoon will ferociously fight a rat to defend her newborn pups but not a cougar. Thus more anger is observed in powerful animals, which tend to be predatory. Powerful animals use anger to defend and acquire territory and resources, thereby reducing threats to the survival of self and juvenile offspring.

Social animals have to make choices about where to go, who gets to eat what and mate with whom, and when all these things happen. They must develop some kind of executive function to make necessary choices as a group. Most social animals, including humans, answer this challenge by organizing into a hierarchy, in which individuals achieve rank. Ascending up the hierarchy increases status, along with access to resources, with most of both bestowed on a chief executive, i.e., alpha males or matriarchs. (Really, this is leading to blogs and emails!)”

(via Psychology Today)