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Keywords:

  • chimpanzee;
  • integrated hypothesis;
  • reconciliation;
  • relationship quality;
  • postconflict anxiety

Abstract

Reconciliation is a conflict resolution mechanism that is common to many gregarious species with individualized societies. Reconciliation repairs the damaged relationship between the opponents and decreases postconflict (PC) anxiety. The “integrated hypothesis” links the quality of the opponents' relationship to PC anxiety, since it proposes that conflicts among partners with high relationship quality will yield high levels of PC anxiety, which in turn will lead to an increased likelihood of reconciliation. We tested the integrated hypothesis in captive chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) in the Arnhem Zoo, The Netherlands. We applied the standard PC/matched control (MC) method. Our results mostly support the integrated hypothesis, in that more valuable and compatible partners (i.e., males and frequent groomers) reconciled more often than less valuable and weakly compatible partners (i.e., females and infrequent groomers). In addition, PC anxiety was higher after conflicts among males than among females. Emotional arousal thus appears to be a mediator facilitating reconciliation. However, in contrast to the predictions derived from the integrated hypothesis, PC anxiety appeared only in aggressees, and not in aggressors, of conflicts. This suggests that while relationship quality determines PC anxiety, it is dependent on the role of the participants in the conflict. Am J Primatol 69:1–15, 2007. © 2006 Wiley-Liss, Inc.