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Keywords:

  • reconciliation;
  • kinship;
  • affiliation;
  • aggression

Abstract

The tendency in primates for former antagonists to approach and affiliate following aggression has been termed reconciliation because the response is thought to resolve social conflicts produced by aggression. In primate societies, however, an aggressive interaction between two individuals often spreads to include other group members, especially the kin of the combatants. If post conflict affiliation resolves aggressive conflicts in a group, then affiliative increases might occur between combatants and the kin of their opponents following aggression as well as between former opponents. This hypothesis was tested in a captive group of 39 pigtail macaques (Macaca nemestrina) by comparing affiliative response frequencies of combatants during the 5 minute period following aggression to affiliative response frequencies during 5 minute baseline periods not preceded by aggressive activity. Following aggression, affiliation rates increased between combatants and their opponents, aggressors and the kin of their opponents, and aggressors and their own kin. Additional analyses showed that aggression among kin was reconciled more often than aggression among nonkin. Recipients of aggression reconciled with their attackers more often than aggressors reconciled with their victims. Animals with similar dominance ranks reconciled proportionately more often than those with large rank disparities and aggressive infractions of a calculated dominance hierarchy were reconciled more often than attacks consistent with the hierarchy. Results suggest that both dyadic and triadic reconciliations occur in M. nemestrina and that compared to other primate species M. nemestrina exhibit a moderate-to-high conciliatory tendency.