Triadic awareness predicts partner choice in male–infant–male interactions in Barbary macaques

Kuběnová, Barbora and Konečnáa, Martina and Majolo, Bonaventura and Šmilauerd, Petr and Ostner, Julia and Schülke, Oliver (2017) Triadic awareness predicts partner choice in male–infant–male interactions in Barbary macaques. Animal Cognition, 20 (2). pp. 221-232. ISSN 1435-9448

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Social knowledge beyond one’s direct relationships is a key to successful maneuvering of the social world. Individuals gather information on the quality of social relationships between their group companions, which has been termed triadic awareness. Evidence of the use of triadic awareness in natural contexts is limited mainly to conflict management. Here we investigated triadic awareness in wild Barbary macaques (Macaca sylvanus) in the context of bridging interactions defined as male-infant-male interactions whereby a male (actor) presents an infant to another male (receiver) in order to initiate an affiliative interaction with that male. Analyses based on 1,263 hours of focal observations on ten infants of one wild social group in Morocco supported the hypothesis that males use their knowledge of the relationship between infants and other adult males when choosing a male as a partner for bridging interactions. Specifically, (i) the number of bridging interactions among initiator-infant-receiver triads was affected by the strength of the infant-receiver relationship and (ii) when two males were available as bridging partners, a male was more likely to be chosen as the receiver the stronger his social relationship with the infant in comparison to the other available male was. This demonstrates that non-human primates establish triadic awareness also of temporarily rather dynamic infant-male relationships and use it in naturally occurring affiliative context. Our results contribute to the discussion about the mechanism underlying the acquisition of triadic awareness and the benefits of its usage and lend support to hypotheses linking social complexity to the evolution of complex cognition.

Keywords:Barbary Macaques, Animal cognition, Social relationship, Triadic awareness, Infant handling, Bridging, Male-infant-male interactions
Subjects:C Biological Sciences > C120 Behavioural Biology
C Biological Sciences > C880 Social Psychology
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Psychology
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ID Code:25284
Deposited On:02 Dec 2016 10:06

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