Post-Conflict Affiliation in Barbary Macaques is Influenced by Conflict Characteristics and Relationship Quality, but Does Not Diminish Short-Term Renewed Aggression



This article is corrected by:

  1. Errata: Corrigendum Volume 116, Issue 3, 281, Article first published online: 18 February 2010

Julia Fischer, Cognitive Ethology Lab, German Primate Center, Kellnerweg 4, 37077 Göttingen, Germany.


Many group living primates have evolved mechanisms to repair their social relationships after conflicts (‘reconciliation’). We analysed the post-conflict behaviour of female Barbary macaques, Macaca sylvanus, living in the enclosure ‘La Forêt des Singes’ at Rocamadour, France. Based on a sample of 914 conflicts, we investigated whether relationship (kinship, rank, affiliation, support and sex) and conflict characteristics (conflict intensity, context and duration) affected the quality and frequency of affiliative post-conflict interactions. Thirty-two per cent of all conflicts were followed by post-conflict affiliation. Rates of socio-positive interactions and support were better predictors of post-conflict affiliation than kinship or rank. Short conflicts were followed by post-conflict affiliation relatively more frequently, after a shorter latency, but only briefly, and such interactions were initiated by both parties equally frequently. The majority of affiliative post-conflict interactions occurred immediately after the end of the conflict. In sum, female Barbary macaques invest more in post-conflict affiliation with valuable partners, and they modulate their post-conflict behaviour in relation to conflict characteristics. Remarkably, affiliative post-conflict interactions increased the short-term probability of renewed aggression by the former aggressor to 16% compared with 9% for conflicts that were not followed by affiliative behaviour. Such renewed aggression after post-conflict affiliation occurred particularly frequently among females and after conflicts over food, suggesting that post-conflict affiliation sometimes falsely lures the former victim to stay in the vicinity, even at the risk of receiving renewed aggression.