Grooming increases self-directed behaviour in wild Barbary macaques, Macaca sylvanus

Molesti, Sandra and Majolo, Bonaventura (2013) Grooming increases self-directed behaviour in wild Barbary macaques, Macaca sylvanus. Animal Behaviour, 86 (1). pp. 169-175. ISSN 0003-3472

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Allogrooming has hygienic and social functions. Moreover, anxiety is thought to be reduced in the first
few minutes after a grooming interaction is terminated. Few data exist on postgrooming reduction in
anxiety, and mostly concern the recipient of grooming and captive animals. We analysed whether
anxiety is reduced after grooming and whether this reduction differs between the donor and recipient of
grooming. We collected 10 min postgrooming and matched-control (PGeMC) focal data on the donor
and recipient of the same grooming interaction in wild Barbary macaques. We recorded all the occurrences
of self-directed behaviours (i.e. self-scratching and self-grooming) as these are reliable indicators
of anxiety. The occurrence of self-directed behaviour was greater in PGs than in MCs for both the donor
and recipient. This increase in postgrooming anxiety was more evident for the recipient than for the
donor. The postgrooming increase in anxiety was not due to a higher risk of receiving aggression after
grooming. Unlike previous studies, our results indicate that anxiety may increase after grooming in
Barbary macaques. If so, the social and hygienic benefits of grooming may outweigh its short-term
anxiety cost. Self-directed behaviour may increase because of the emotional response to the change in
activity (e.g. from grooming to travelling) and/or frustration at the termination of grooming. Our findings
highlight the need to investigate further the link between emotions and grooming.

Keywords:aggression, anxiety, Barbary macaque, emotion, grooming, self-directed behaviour, self-grooming, self-scratching
Subjects:C Biological Sciences > C800 Psychology
C Biological Sciences > C182 Evolution
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Psychology
Relation typeTarget identifier
ID Code:10750
Deposited On:12 Jul 2013 08:51

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