Conflict and post-conflict behavior in a small group of chimpanzees

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Department or Administrative Unit

Primate Behavior and Ecology

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Chimpanzee research plays a central role in the discussions of conflict negotiation. Reconciliation, or the attraction and affiliation of former opponents following conflict, has been proposed as a central element of conflict negotiation in chimpanzees and various other taxa. In an attempt to expand the database of chimpanzee conflict resolution, conflict and post-conflict behavior were recorded for a small group of socially housed chimpanzees at the Chimpanzee and Human Communication Institute, at Central Washington University. Data were collected over six 6-week periods between 1997 and 2000, for a total of 840 hours of observation, resulting in a substantial post-conflict (PC) and matched control (MC) data set. The data demonstrate this group’s tendencies to maintain visual contact and closer proximity after conflicts. Dyadic corrected conciliatory tendencies ranged between 0 – 37.5% and averaged 17.25% across all dyads. Individual corrected conciliatory tendencies ranged between 5.8 and 32%. The results of this study combined with recent publications on captive and free-ranging chimpanzee post-conflict behavior suggest that variation in post-conflict behavior may be important to our understanding of chimpanzee conflict negotiation, and may also have implications for the design and management of captive chimpanzee enclosures and social groups, respectively.


This article was originally published in Primates. The full-text article from the publisher can be found here.

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