Testing the role of direct, indirect and generalised reciprocity in grooming exchanges of wild Barbary macaques

Molesti, Sandra and Majolo, Bonaventura (2013) Testing the role of direct, indirect and generalised reciprocity in grooming exchanges of wild Barbary macaques. In: Behaviour 2013, 4 – 8 AUGUST 2013, NEWCASTLE GATESHEAD, UK.

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


In non-human primates, grooming is thought to be a costly activity for the donor and
beneficial for the recipient. Reciprocity assumes that individuals act as the donor and recipient
of grooming and switch roles over time to balance the benefits and costs. Three main patterns
of reciprocity may follow a grooming given by A to B: (1) direct reciprocity, where B return
the grooming to A; (2) indirect reciprocity, where individual C, not involved in the former
grooming between A and B, grooms A; and (3) generalized reciprocity, where B grooms any
individual including A. We tested the role of direct, indirect, and generalized reciprocity in
explaining grooming exchanges of wild Barbary macaques. We collected the occurrence and
latency of the three types of grooming reciprocity during one hour focal session run
simultaneously on two partners who just stopped grooming (post-grooming session) or who
were in proximity (i.e. within 1.5 meters) without grooming (control session). We ran the
analyses on 284 post-grooming sessions and 63 control sessions. Directly reciprocated
grooming from B to A was more likely to occur, and occurred earlier when A had previously
groomed B than in control sessions. We found no evidence for indirect or generalised
reciprocity. Our results indicate that grooming distribution in Barbary macaques is partnerspecific
and occurs according to direct reciprocity. Such partner specificity can explain the
lack of evidence for generalised reciprocity, whereas indirect reciprocity may be too
cognitively demanding to occur in macaques.

Keywords:grooming, Reciprocity, macaque, direct reciprocity, indirect reciprocity, generalised reciprocity
Subjects:C Biological Sciences > C800 Psychology
C Biological Sciences > C182 Evolution
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Psychology
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ID Code:10751
Deposited On:12 Jul 2013 08:55

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