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Knowledge acquired and decisions made: triadic interactions during allogrooming in wild bonnet macaques, Macaca radiata

Knowledge acquired and decisions made: triadic interactions during allogrooming in wild bonnet macaques, Macaca radiata

Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological Sciences 353(1368): 619-631

The pressures of developing and maintaining intricate social relationships may have led to the evolution of enhanced cognitive abilities in many nonhuman primates. Knowledge of the dominance ranks and social relationships of other individuals, in particular, is important in evaluating one's position in the rank hierarchy and affiliative networks. Triadic interactions offer an excellent opportunity to examine whether decisions are taken by individuals on the basis of such knowledge. Allogrooming supplants among wild female bonnet macaques (macaca radiata) usually involved the subordinate female of a grooming dyad retreating at the approach of a female dominant to both members of the dyad. In a few exceptional cases, however, the dominant member of the dyad retreated; simple non-cognitive hypotheses involving dyadic rank differences and agonistic relationships failed to explain this phenomenon. Instead, retreat by the dominant individual was positively correlated with the social attractiveness of her subordinate companion (as measured by the duration of grooming received by the latter from other females in the troop). This suggests that not only does an individual evaluate relationships among other females, but does so on the basis of the amount of grooming received by them. Similarly, the frequency of approaches received by any female was correlated with her social attractiveness when she was the dominant member of the dyad, but not when she was the subordinate. This indicated that approaching females might be aware of the relative dominance ranks of the two allogrooming individuals. In logistic regression analyses, the probability of any individual retreating was found to be influenced more by her knowledge of her rank difference with both the other interactants, rather than by their absolute ranks. Moreover, information about social attractiveness appeared to be used in terms of correlated dominance ranks. The nature of knowledge acquired by bonnet macaque females may thus be egotistical in that other individuals are evaluated relative to oneself, integrative in that information about all other interactants is used simultaneously, and hierarchical in the ability to preferentially use certain categories of knowledge for the storage of related information from other domains.

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Accession: 008937735

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 9602536

DOI: 10.1098/rstb.1998.0230

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