Cooperation in wild Barbary macaques: factors affecting free partner choice

Molesti, Sandra and Majolo, Bonaventura (2016) Cooperation in wild Barbary macaques: factors affecting free partner choice. Animal Cognition, 19 (1). pp. 133-146. ISSN 1435-9448

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Abstract

A key aspect of cooperation is partner choice: choosing the best available partner improves the chances of a successful cooperative interaction and decreases the likelihood of being exploited. However, in studies on cooperation subjects are rarely allowed to freely choose their partners. Group-living animals live in a complex social environment where they can choose among several social partners differing in, for example, sex, age, temperament, or dominance status. Our study investigated whether wild Barbary macaques succeed to cooperate using an experimental apparatus, and whether individual and social factors affect their choice of partners and the degree of cooperation. We used the string pulling task that requires two monkeys to manipulate simultaneously a rope in order to receive a food reward. The monkeys were free to interact with the apparatus or not and to choose their partner. The results showed that Barbary macaques are able to pair up with a partner to cooperate using the apparatus. High level of tolerance between monkeys was necessary for the initiation of successful cooperation, while strong social bond positively affected the maintenance of cooperative interactions. Dominance status, sex, age, and temperament of the subjects also affected their choice and performance. These factors thus need to be taken into account in cooperative experiment on animals. Tolerance between social partners is likely to be a prerequisite for the evolution of cooperation.

Keywords:Tolerance, Macaque, Social bond, Cognition, Cooperation, Partner choice, bmjconvert, NotOAChecked
Subjects:C Biological Sciences > C800 Psychology
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Psychology
ID Code:19949
Deposited On:07 Jan 2016 15:43

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