Proximate mechanisms underlying cooperation in carnivores

Romero, Teresa (2015) Proximate mechanisms underlying cooperation in carnivores. Japanese Journal of Animal Psychology, 65 (1). pp. 35-43. ISSN 0916-8419

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Romero 2015.pdf
Romero 2015.pdf

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Item Status:Live Archive


While the evolution of cooperative behaviors has generated an intense debate among
evolutionists and animal behaviorists, the proximate mechanisms underlying cooperative
relationships have received much less attention. In recent years, it has become clear that an
understanding of proximate causation of cooperation is needed in order to obtain a more
balanced and complete picture of the phenomenon. The proximate cause of cooperation refers
to the immediate situation that triggers behavior, and the role of learning, memory, physiology,
and neural processes. Since from an evolutionary point of view cooperative relationships are
maintained because of the subsequent benefits they bring, there has been the tendency to
erroneously assume that they are also motivated by their future benefits. This assumption
would imply that animals engage in social interactions in order to gain future benefits, or that
they are able to remember the services given by another individual in order to offer a service
in return at a later date. While this “rational” calculation offers a possible explanation, it is
currently unclear whether or not some animal species have these cognitive capacities. Here I
will argue that, while complex cognitive mechanisms may be present in some species, less cognitively
demanding mechanisms, based on emotions, could be at the basis of the flexibility
needed to form complex, enduring cooperative relationships in both human and non-human

Keywords:cooperation, proximate mechanisms, carnivores, emotions, oxytocin, JCOpen
Subjects:C Biological Sciences > C120 Behavioural Biology
Divisions:College of Science > School of Life Sciences
ID Code:25901
Deposited On:27 Jan 2017 10:38

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