Document Type


Date of Degree Completion

Spring 2023

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Primate Behavior

Committee Chair

Mary Lee Jensvold

Second Committee Member

Jessica Mayhew

Third Committee Member

Lori K. Sheeran


Play is one of the many behavioral contexts in a chimpanzee’s repertoire. Chimpanzees engage in complex social play behaviors and produce various types of signals during play. Behavioral matching of signals appears in several primate species. Matching signals during play may help facilitate social play interactions and maintain play bouts. Previous researchers have examined matching in various types of play signals during play bouts in primates, but a limited number of researchers have assessed on how matching gesture signals affect duration in play bouts. In this study, matching gestures, gesture types and play bout durations were recorded in chimpanzee groups from three African sanctuaries. This study analyzed the presence of matching gestures and the duration of play bouts. The results showed that the duration of play bouts was significantly longer when matched gestures were present, compared to play bouts where matched gestures were absent. These findings can help us understand the role of matching behaviors in social play.

Available for download on Monday, June 19, 2028