Primates

, Volume 52, Issue 3, pp 237–247

Benefiting friends or dominants: prosocial choices mainly depend on rank position in long-tailed macaques (Macaca fascicularis)

  • Jorg J. M. Massen
  • Inge J. A. F. Luyten
  • Berry M. Spruijt
  • Elisabeth H. M. Sterck
Original Article

DOI: 10.1007/s10329-011-0244-8

Cite this article as:
Massen, J.J.M., Luyten, I.J.A.F., Spruijt, B.M. et al. Primates (2011) 52: 237. doi:10.1007/s10329-011-0244-8

Abstract

Long-term observational studies in a number of animal species suggest that exchange patterns of social acts depend on long-term emotional bonds. Therefore, it is expected that the frequency of prosocial behavior will depend on the strength of such a bond. In this study we tested whether variation in relationship quality among unrelated individuals, i.e., “friends” and “nonfriends,” is predictive of the prosocial behavior of long-tailed macaques in two experiments. First, we related relationship quality to prosociality in a dyadic prosociality test, and second, we gave subjects the choice to give to either a friend or a nonfriend in a triadic choice test. We show that prosocial behavior of long-tailed macaques in the dyadic test is not related to relationship quality. When given the choice to give to either a friend or a nonfriend in the triadic test, there is a minor indication that long-tailed macaques show a preference to give to their friends, yet this indication is neither significant nor consistent. In contrast, subordinate long-tailed macaques make a more “competitive” choice and avoid giving to the individual closest in rank. Therefore, in the short-term situation of experimental tests, prosocial behavior of long-tailed macaques seems unaffected by the relationship quality of the dyad/triad tested, and the relative dominance position of these dyads/triads seems to have a much stronger effect on their prosocial behavior.

Keywords

Prosociality Friendship Relationship quality Long-tailed macaques Rank relations 

Copyright information

© The authors 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jorg J. M. Massen
    • 1
  • Inge J. A. F. Luyten
    • 1
  • Berry M. Spruijt
    • 1
  • Elisabeth H. M. Sterck
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Behavioural Biology, Universiteit UtrechtUtrechtThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Ethology Research, Biomedical Primate Research CentreRijswijkThe Netherlands

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