Introducing a cooperative task to a wild group of Barbary macaques

Molesti, Sandra and Majolo, Bonaventura (2012) Introducing a cooperative task to a wild group of Barbary macaques. In: ASAB Winter Meeting: "Cognition in the Wild", 7th - 8th December 2012, London.

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Item Type:Conference or Workshop contribution (Poster)
Item Status:Live Archive

Abstract

A key aspect of cooperation is the choice of partners with whom to cooperate, as this determines if an individual can establish a successful cooperative interaction and reduce the chances to be exploited. In most of the experiments on cooperation conducted so far, subjects had no opportunity to choose their cooperative partner, or the choice was reduced between two individuals. Non-human primates, however, live in complex social groups and can choose their social partner among several individuals. We presented a cooperative apparatus to a wild provisioned group of Barbary macaques, leaving them the choice to interact or not with the apparatus, and with any of their group companions. We used the same experiment used in captive studies on cooperation (Crawford, 1937), requiring two monkeys to pull a rope simultaneously in order to both get rewards. We found mixed evidence of cooperation in our study group and we discuss here the methodological and theoretical difficulties of running experiments with free-ranging animals.

Additional Information:A key aspect of cooperation is the choice of partners with whom to cooperate, as this determines if an individual can establish a successful cooperative interaction and reduce the chances to be exploited. In most of the experiments on cooperation conducted so far, subjects had no opportunity to choose their cooperative partner, or the choice was reduced between two individuals. Non-human primates, however, live in complex social groups and can choose their social partner among several individuals. We presented a cooperative apparatus to a wild provisioned group of Barbary macaques, leaving them the choice to interact or not with the apparatus, and with any of their group companions. We used the same experiment used in captive studies on cooperation (Crawford, 1937), requiring two monkeys to pull a rope simultaneously in order to both get rewards. We found mixed evidence of cooperation in our study group and we discuss here the methodological and theoretical difficulties of running experiments with free-ranging animals.
Keywords:macaque, cooperation
Subjects:C Biological Sciences > C120 Behavioural Biology
C Biological Sciences > C182 Evolution
C Biological Sciences > C850 Cognitive Psychology
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Psychology
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ID Code:7497
Deposited On:10 Feb 2013 17:42

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