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Keywords:

  • Callithrix jacchus;
  • marmosets;
  • neighbor effect;
  • social contagion;
  • social influence;
  • vocalization

Abstract

Researchers have demonstrated the neighbor effect for affiliative and agonistic neighbor vocalizations in captive chimpanzees. We extend the investigation of the neighbor effect to New World monkeys, Callithrix jacchus. We collected data on vocalizations and behaviors of 31 focal individuals and concurrent neighbor vocalization within three behavioral categories: intragroup and intergroup aggression and intragroup affiliation. We investigated whether there was an influence of neighbor vocalizations on focal behavior within the same behavioral category. For data analysis we used approximate randomization of paired-sample t-tests. We found that marmosets performed intergroup aggressive behavior (bristle, anogenital present for neighbor loud shrill only) for significantly longer, and emitted significantly more intergroup agonistic vocalizations (twitter, loud shrill), at a high frequency of intergroup agonistic neighbor vocalizations (twitter, loud shrill) than at low. The marmosets were also significantly more likely to engage in bristle behavior immediately after hearing a neighbor intergroup aggressive call (twitter, loud shrill) than directly beforehand. High neighbor intragroup agonistic calls (chatter) were associated with significantly longer spent in related behavior (composite of: attack, chase, steal food). Affiliative behaviors (share food, grooming invite) were engaged in by marmosets for significantly longer at higher frequencies of affiliative neighbor chirp calls than at low. Marmosets were also significantly more likely to perform food sharing and active affiliative contact immediately after rather than before hearing a neighbor chirp call. Our findings suggest that neighbor vocalizations influence marmoset behavior through social contagion and indicate that the neighbor effect for affiliation and aggression generalizes to the marmoset. Am. J. Primatol. 72:549–558, 2010. © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.