International Journal of Primatology

, Volume 27, Issue 5, pp 1311–1336

Is Postconflict Affiliation in Captive Nonhuman Primates an Artifact of Captivity?


DOI: 10.1007/s10764-006-9080-x

Cite this article as:
Colmenares, F. Int J Primatol (2006) 27: 1311. doi:10.1007/s10764-006-9080-x

Researchers have conducted most studies on primate conflict management and resolution in captive settings. The few studies on groups of the same species in captivity and in the wild and the overall comparison across species of findings from studies in both settings have reported patterns of variation in the rates of various postconflict affinitive behaviors that may be setting related. In fact, some authors have claimed that the high rates of postconflict affiliation reported in captive studies could represent an artifact of captivity. I explored the claim and conclude that it is unjustified. I argue that the dichotomy captivity vs. wild is conceptually meaningless and scientists should abandon it as an explanatory variable, that differences across studies both in setting-related variables and in the methods used for assessing postconflict affiliation reduce the strength of comparisons within and across settings, that the empirical evidence thus far available neither allows adequate assessment nor supports any claim that links the rate of postconflict affiliation to captivity or wild conditions, and that studies conducted in both settings may be equally useful—and should be used—to test theoretically relevant hypotheses regarding the causes and predictors of variation in postconflict affiliation. Instead of asking the title question, I would ask which variables influence postconflict affiliation and then whether the variables are really associated only with one of the two settings.

Key Words:

captivitypostconflict affiliationsocial behaviorwild

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Departamento de Psicobiología, Facultad de PsicologíaUniversidad Complutense de MadridMadridSpain