The importance of considering the behavioral form of reconciliation in studies of conflict resolution.

Mcfarland, Richard and Majolo, Bonaventura (2013) The importance of considering the behavioral form of reconciliation in studies of conflict resolution. International Journal of Primatology, 34 (1). pp. 15-29. ISSN 0164-0291

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Reconciliation is the most extensively studied conflict resolution
mechanism in animal societies. However, despite the extensive literature on
this topic, behaviors considered to represent postconflict affiliation have not
been consistent across studies of reconciliation. Critically, reconciliation is
usually defined as postconflict contact affiliation, e.g., grooming, and the
importance of including interopponent distance regulation is often neglected.
Moreover, to date, no study has simultaneously investigated different behavioral
forms of reconciliation. We tested in two groups of wild Barbary macaques
(Macaca sylvanus) the relative importance of postconflict close proximity and
grooming in the mediation of two important costs of aggression: damage to the
opponent’s social relationship and elevated postconflict anxiety.We provide evidence
that close-proximity approaches function to resolve conflicts: Close-proximity
approaches reduced the victim’s postconflict anxiety and were predicted by the
quality of the social relationship with the opponent. Moreover, postconflict grooming
alone, although predicted by the quality of the opponent’s social relationship, did not
influence the victim’s elevated postconflict anxiety. Our results suggest that interopponent
distance regulation plays an important role in reconciling the costs of
aggression in Barbary macaques. We advocate that further efforts should be made
to test which behaviors play a role in conflict resolution in different species. This is
important because even closely related species may differ in the function of behaviors
that superficially appear to be rather similar. Moreover, the choice of behaviors used
to study conflict resolution determines the frequency with which reconciliation is
observed and can thus bias comparisons across species.

Keywords:Animal behaviour, Aggression, Barbary macaque, Conciliatory tendency, conflict management, Proximity regulation, social relationships
Subjects:C Biological Sciences > C800 Psychology
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Psychology
ID Code:10650
Deposited On:03 Jul 2013 15:05

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