Skip to main content
Log in

Evolutionary precursors of social norms in chimpanzees: a new approach

  • Published:
Biology & Philosophy Aims and scope Submit manuscript

Abstract

Moral behaviour, based on social norms, is commonly regarded as a hallmark of humans. Hitherto, humans are perceived to be the only species possessing social norms and to engage in moral behaviour. There is anecdotal evidence suggesting their presence in chimpanzees, but systematic studies are lacking. Here, we examine the evolution of human social norms and their underlying psychological mechanisms. For this, we distinguish between conventions, cultural social norms and universal social norms. We aim at exploring whether chimpanzees possess evolutionary precursors of universal social norms seen in humans. Chimpanzees exhibit important preconditions for their presence and enforcement: tolerant societies, well-developed social-cognitive skills and empathetic competence. Here, we develop a theoretical framework for recognizing different functional levels of social norms and distinguish them from mere statistical behavioural regularities. Quasi social norms are found where animals behave functionally moral without having moral emotions. In proto social norms, moral emotions might be present but cannot be collectivized due to the absence of a uniquely human psychological trait, i.e. shared intentionality. Human social norms, whether they are universal or cultural, involve moral emotions and are collectivized. We will discuss behaviours in chimpanzees that represent potential evolutionary precursors of human universal social norms, with special focus on social interactions involving infants. We argue that chimpanzee infants occupy a special status within their communities and propose that tolerance towards them might represent a proto social norm. Finally, we discuss possible ways to test this theoretical framework.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

We’re sorry, something doesn't seem to be working properly.

Please try refreshing the page. If that doesn't work, please contact support so we can address the problem.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2

Similar content being viewed by others

Notes

  1. However, there might be conventions for which conformity is not only requested but rather compulsive due to possible severe consequences upon their violation (e.g. which side of the road to drive on).

  2. To eliminate the possibility that the animals’ longer looking durations for videos including severe aggression against infants do not merely express surprise, the animals under investigation should be familiar with such incidents. Furthermore, the content of the different videos is to be chosen such that surprise can be excluded as an alternative explanation for the animals’ looking behaviour.

References

  • Abarbanell L, Hauser MD (2010) Mayan morality: an exploration of permissible harms. Cognition 115:207–224

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Alley TR (1980) Infantile coloration as an elicitor of caretaking behaviour in old world primates. Primates 21(3):416–429

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Anderson JR, Myowa-Yamakoshi M, Matsuzawa T (2004) Contagious yawning in chimpanzees. Proc R Soc Lond B 271:468–470

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Aureli F, van Schaik C (1991) Post-conflict behaviour in long-tailed macaques (Macaca fascicularis): II. Coping with uncertainty. Ethology 89:101–114

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Axelrod R (1986) An evolutionary approach to norms. Am Polit Sci Rev 80(4):1095–1111

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Baker KC, Smuts BB (1994) Social relationships of female chimpanzees: diversity between captive social groups. In: Wrangham RW, McGrew WC, de Waal FBM, Heltne PG (eds) Chimpanzee cultures. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, pp 227–242

    Google Scholar 

  • Bauer RM (1998) Physiologic measures of emotion. J Clin Neurophysiol 15:388–396

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Bekoff M (2001) Social play behaviour: cooperation, fairness, trust, and the evolution of morality. J Consc Stud 8(2):81–90

    Google Scholar 

  • Bekoff M (2004) Wild justice and fair play: cooperation, forgiveness, and morality in animals. Biol Philos 19:489–520

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Bennett H (1996) Study of kinship, social relations and possible incest among Budongo chimpanzees. Master Thesis, Edinburgh University

  • Beran MJ, Evans AT (2006) Maintenance of delay of gratification by four chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes): the effect of delayed reward visibility, experimenter presence, and extended delay intervals. Behav Processes 73:315–324

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Bergman TJ, Beehner JC, Cheney DL, Seyfarth RM (2003) Hierarchical classification by rank and kinship in baboons. Science 302:1234–1236

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Bernard G (2008) The definition of morality. In: Zalta EN (ed) The stanford encyclopedia of philosophy. http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/fall2008/entries/morality-definition/. Accessed Fall 2010

  • Bethea L (1999) Primary prevention of child abuse. Am Fam Physician 59:1577

    Google Scholar 

  • Bicchieri C (ed) (2006) The grammar of society: the nature and dynamics of social norms. Cambridge University Press, New York

    Google Scholar 

  • Bischof-Köhler D (1989) Spiegelbild und Empathie—Die Anfänge der sozialen Kognition. Hans Huber, Bern

    Google Scholar 

  • Blaffer Hrdy S (1979) Infanticide among animals: a review, classification, and examination of the implications for the reproductive strategies of females. Ethol Sociobiol 1:13–40

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Blaffer Hrdy S (1999) Mother nature: a history of mothers, infants, and natural selection. Pantheon Books, New York

    Google Scholar 

  • Boehm C (1994) Pacifying interventions at Arnhem Zoo and Gombe. In: Wrangham RW, McGrew WC, de Waal FBM, Heltne PG (eds) Chimpanzee cultures. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, pp 211–226

    Google Scholar 

  • Boesch C (1991) Teaching among wild chimpanzees. Anim Behav 41:530–532

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Boesch C (1994) Cooperative hunting in wild chimpanzees. Anim Behav 48(3):653–667

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Boesch C (2007) What makes us human (Homo sapiens)? The challenge of cognitive cross-species comparison. J Comp Psychol 121:227–240

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Boesch C (2009) The real chimpanzee. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge

    Google Scholar 

  • Boesch C, Boesch-Achermann H (2000) The chimpanzees of the Taï forest: behavioral ecology and evolution. Oxford University Press, Oxford

    Google Scholar 

  • Bonnie KE, Horner V, Whiten A, de Waal FBM (2007) Spread of arbitrary conventions among chimpanzees: a controlled experiment. Proc R Soc Lond B 274:367–372

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Bott E (2003) Family and social network: roles, norms, and external relationships in ordinary urban families. Routledge Chapman & Hall, London

    Google Scholar 

  • Bowles S, Gintis H (2004) Persistent parochialism: trust and exclusion in ethnic networks. J Econ Behav Organ 55:1–23

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Boyd R, Richerson PJ (1987) The evolution of ethnic markers. Cult Anthropol 2(1):65–79

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Brosnan SF (2006) Nonhuman species’ reactions to inequity and their implications for fairness. Soc Justice Res 19(2):153–185

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Brosnan SF, Schiff HC, De Waal FBM (2005) Tolerance for inequity may increase with social closeness in chimpanzees. Proc R Soc Lond B 272:253–258

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Burkart JM (2004) Evolutionäre Vorläufer der theory of mind. Experimente zur sozialen Kognition bei Weissbüschelaffen (Callithrix jacchus). Dissertation, University of Zurich

  • Cacchione T, Krist H (2004) Recognizing impossible object relations: intuitions about support in chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes). J Comp Psychol 118:140–148

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Call J (2007) Social knowledge in primates. In: Dunbar RIM, Barrett L (eds) Handbook of evolutionary psychology. Oxford University Press, New York, pp 71–81

    Google Scholar 

  • Call J, Tomasello M (2008) Does the chimpanzee have a theory of mind? 30 years later. Trends Cogn Sci 12:187–192

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Campbell MW, Carter JD, Proctor D, Eisenberg ML, de Waal FBM (2009) Computer animations stimulate contagious yawning in chimpanzees. Proc R Soc Lond B 276:4255–4259

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Castles DL, Whiten A (1998) Post-conflict behaviour of wild olive baboons. II. Stress and self-directed behaviour. Ethology 104(2):148–160

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Cheney DL, Seyfarth RM (1990) Attending to behavior versus attending to knowledge: examining monkeys’ attribution of mental states. Anim Behav 40:742–753

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Cheney DL, Seyfarth RM (1999) Recognition of other individuals’ social relationships by female baboons. Anim Behav 58:67–75

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Christensen PN, Rothgerber H, Wood W, Matz DC (2004) Social norms and identity relevance: a motivational approach to normative behavior. Pers Soc Psychol Bull 30:1295–1309

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Cisbra G, Gergely G (2009) Natural pedagogy. Trends Cogn Sci 13(4):148–153

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Commons ML, Wolfsont CA (2002) A complete theory of empathy must consider stage changes. Behav Brain Sci 25:30–31

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Cords M, Aureli F (2000) Reconciliation and relationship quality. In: Aureli F, de Waal FBM (eds) Natural conflict resolution. University of California Press, London, pp 177–199

    Google Scholar 

  • Cross G (2004) The cute and the cool: wondrous innocence and modern american children’s culture. Oxford University Press, Oxford

    Google Scholar 

  • Daly M, Wilson M (1988) Evolutionary social psychology and family homicide. Science 242:519–524

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Darwin C (1982) The descent of man, and selection in relation to sex. Princeton University Press, Princeton

    Google Scholar 

  • de Waal FBM (1982) Chimpanzee politics: power and sex among apes. Unwin Paperbacks, London

    Google Scholar 

  • de Waal FBM (1984) Sex differences in the formation of coalitions among chimpanzees. Ethol Sociobiol 5(4):239–255

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • de Waal FBM (1989) Dominance ‘style’ and primate social organization. In: Standen V, Foley RA (eds) Comparative socioecology: the behavioural ecology of humans and other mammals. Blackwell Scientific Publications, London, pp 243–263

    Google Scholar 

  • de Waal FBM (1991) The chimpanzee’s sense of social regularity and its relation to the human sense of justice. Am Behav Sci 34(3):335–349

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • de Waal FBM (1996) Good natured: the origins of right and wrong in humans and other animals. Harvard University Press, Cambridge

    Google Scholar 

  • de Waal FBM (2000) Primates—a natural heritage of conflict resolution. Science 289:586–590

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • de Waal FBM (2005) Our inner ape. Riverhead Books, New York

    Google Scholar 

  • de Waal FBM (2008) Putting the altruism back into altruism: the evolution of empathy. Annu Rev Psychol 59(1):279–300

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • de Waal FBM, Hoekstra JA (1980) Contexts and predictability of aggression in chimpanzees. Anim Behav 28(3):929–937

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • de Waal FBM, van Hooff JARAM (1981) Side-directed communication and agonistic interactions in chimpanzees. Behaviour 77(3):164–198

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • de Waal FBM, van Roosmalen A (1979) Reconciliation and consolation among chimpanzees. Behav Ecol Sociobiol 5(1):55–66

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Denant-Boemont L, Masclet D, Noussair C (2007) Punishment, counterpunishment and sanction enforcement in a social dilemma experiment. Econ Theory 33:145–167

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Dufour V, Pelé M, Sterck EHM, Thierry B (2007) Chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) anticipation of food return: coping with waiting time in an exchange task. J Comp Psychol 121(2):145–155

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Efferson C, Lalive R, Richerson PJ, McElreath R, Lubell M (2008) Conformists and mavericks: the empirics of frequency-dependent cultural transmission. Evol Hum Behav 29:56–64

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Ellikson RC (2001) The evolution of social norms: a perspective from the legal academy. In: Hechter M, Opp KD (eds) Social norms. Russell Sage Foundation, New York, pp 35–75

    Google Scholar 

  • Elster J (1989) The cement of society—a study of social order. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Fehr E, Fischbacher U (2002) Social norms and human cooperation. Trends Cogn Sci 8(4):185–190

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Fehr E, Fischbacher U (2004) Third-party punishment and social norms. Evol Hum Behav 25:63–87

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Fehr E, Gächter S (2002) Altruistic punishment in humans. Nature 415:137–140

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Finch G (1943) The bodily strength of chimpanzees. J Mammal 24(2):224–228

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Flack JC, de Waal FBM (2002) Any animal whatever: darwinian building blocks of morality in monkeys and apes. In: Katz LD (ed) Evolutionary origins of morality: cross-disciplinary perspectives. Imprint Academic, Thorverton, pp 1–29

    Google Scholar 

  • Flack JC, Jeannotte LA, de Waal FBM (2004) Play signaling and the perception of social rules by juvenile chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes). J Comp Psychol 118(2):149–159

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Flack JC, de Waal FBM, Krakauer DC (2005) Social structure, robustness, and policing cost in a cognitively sophisticated species. Am Nat 165(5):E126–E139

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Flack JC, Girvan M, de Waal FBM, Krakauer DC (2006) Policing stabilizes constructions of social niches in primates. Nature 439:426–429

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Frank SA (2003) Perspective: repression of competition and the evolution of cooperation. Evolution 57(4):693–705

    Google Scholar 

  • Fraser ON, Aureli F (2008) Reconciliation, consolation and postconflict behavioral specificity in chimpanzees. Am J Primatol 70:1114–1123

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Fraser ON, Stahl D, Aureli F (2008) Stress reduction through consolation in chimpanzees. PNAS 105(25):8557–8562

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Fuentes A (1999) Variable social organization: what can looking at primate groups tell us about the evolution of plasticity in primate societies? In: Dolhinow P, Fuentes A (eds) The nonhuman primates. Mayfield Publishing Company, London, pp 183–188

    Google Scholar 

  • Gallup GGJ (1970) Chimpanzees: self-recognition. Science 167:241–243

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Gallup GGJ (1979) Self-recognition in chimpanzees and man: a developmental and comparative perspective. Plenum Press, New York

    Google Scholar 

  • Gilbert R, Spatz Widom C, Browne K, Fergusson D, Webb E, Janson S (2009) Burden and consequences of child maltreatment in high-income countries. Lancet 373:68–81

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Glazko GV, Nei M (2003) Estimation of divergence times for major lineages of primate species. Mol Biol Evol 20(3):424–434

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Goodall J (1971) In the shadow of man. Houghton Mifflin, Boston

    Google Scholar 

  • Goodall J (1977) Infant killing and cannibalism in free-living chimpanzees. Folia Primatol 28:259–282

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Goodall J (1986) The chimpanzees of Gombe: patterns of behavior. The Belknap Press of Harvard University, Cambridge

    Google Scholar 

  • Goodall J, Bandora A, Bergmann E, Busse C, Matama H, Mpongo E, Pierge A, Riss D (1979) Intercommunity interactions in the chimpanzee population of the Gombe National Park. In: Hamburg DA, McCown ER (eds) The great apes. Benjamin/Cummings, California, pp 13–53

    Google Scholar 

  • Goodman M, Porter CA, Czelusniak J, Page SL, Schneider H, Shoshani J, Gunnell G, Groves CP (1998) Toward a phylogenetic classification of primates based on DNA evidence complemented by fossil evidence. Mol Phylogenet Evol 9(3):585–598

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Greene J, Haidt J (2002) How (and where) does moral judgment work? Trends Cogn Sci 6(12):517–523

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hall KRL (1964) Aggression in monkey and ape societies. In: Carthy JD, Ebling FJ (eds) The natural history of aggression. Academic Press, London, pp 51–64

    Google Scholar 

  • Hamai M, Nishida T, Takasaki H, Turner LA (1992) New records of within-group infanticide and cannibalism in wild chimpanzees. Primates 33(2):151–162

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hamlin JK, Wynn K, Bloom P (2007) Social evaluation by preverbal infants. Nature 450:557–559

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hatters Friedman S, Resnick PJ (2007) Child murder by mothers: pattern and prevention. World Psychiatry 6:137–141

    Google Scholar 

  • Hauser MD (2006) Moral minds: how nature designed our universal sense of right and wrong. HarperCollins Publishers, New York

    Google Scholar 

  • Hayaki H (1985) Social play of juvenile and adolescent chimpanzees in the Mahale Mountains National Park, Tanzania. Primates 26(4):343–360

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hechter M, Opp KD (2001) Social norms. The Russell Sage Foundation, New York

    Google Scholar 

  • Heim C, Nemeroff CB (2001) The role of childhood trauma in the neurobiology of mood and anxiety disorders: preclinical and clinical studies. Biol Psychiatry 49:1023–1039

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hess J (1997) Menschenaffen mutter und kind. Friedrich Reinhardt Verlag, Basel

    Google Scholar 

  • Hill K (2009) Animal “culture”? In: Laland KN, Galef BG (eds) The question of animal culture. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, pp 269–287

    Google Scholar 

  • Hill K, Barton M, Hurtado M (2009) The emergence of human uniqueness: characters underlying behavioral modernity. Evol Anthropol 18(5):187–200

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hiraiwa-Hasegawa M, Hasegawa T (1994) Infanticide in nonhuman primates: sexual selection and local resource competition. In: Parmigiani S, vom Saal FS (eds) Infanticide & parental care. Harwood Academic Publisher, Singapore, pp 137–155

    Google Scholar 

  • Hirata S, Celli ML (2003) Role of mothers in the acquisition of tool-use behaviours by captive infant chimpanzees. Anim Cogn 6:235–244

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hoffman ML (1979) Development of moral thought, feeling, and behavior. Am Psychol 34(10):958–966

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hoffman ML (2000) Empathy and Moral Development: Implications for Caring and Justice. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge

    Google Scholar 

  • Horne C (2001) Sociological perspectives on the emergence on norms. In: Hechter M, Opp KD (eds) Social norms. The Russell Sage Foundation, New York, pp 3–34

    Google Scholar 

  • Hrdy SB (2005) Evolutionary context of human development: the cooperative breeding model. In: Carter CS, Ahnert L, Grossmann KE et al (eds) Attachment and bonding: a new synthesis; from the 92nd Dahlem workshop report. MIT Press, Cambridge, pp 9–32

    Google Scholar 

  • Inoue-Nakamura N, Matsuzawa T (1997) Developement of stone tool use by wild chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes). J Comp Psychol 111(2):159–173

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Janssen MA, Bushman C (2008) Evolution of cooperation and altruistic punishment when retaliation is possible. J Theor Biol 254:541–545

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Jasso G (2001) Rule finding about rule making: comparison processes and the making of rules. In: Hechter M, Opp KD (eds) Social Norms. Russell Sage Foundation, New York, pp 348–394

    Google Scholar 

  • Jeannotte LA (1996) Play-signaling in juvenile chimpanzees in relationship to play intensity and social environment. Emory University, Atlanta

    Google Scholar 

  • Jensen K, Hare B, Call J, Tomasello M (2006) What’s in it for me? Self-regard precludes altruism and spite in chimpanzees. Proc R Soc Lond B 273:1013–1021

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Jensen K, Call J, Tomasello M (2007) Chimpanzees are vengeful but not spiteful. PNAS 104(32):13046–13050

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Kanazawa S, Still MC (2001) The emergence of marriage norms: an evolutionary psychological perspective. In: Hechter M, Opp KD (eds) Social norms. Russell Sage Foundation, New York, pp 274–305

    Google Scholar 

  • Kawanaka K (1981) Infanticide and cannibalism in chimpanzees, with special reference to the newly observed case in Mahale Mountains. Afr Study Monogr 1:69–99

    Google Scholar 

  • Khagram S, Riker JV, Sikkink K (2002) Restructuring world politics: transnational social movements, networks, and norms. University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis

    Google Scholar 

  • Killen M, de Waal FBM (2000) The evolution and development of morality. In: Aureli F, de Waal FBM (eds) Natural conflict resolution. University of California Press, London, pp 352–372

    Google Scholar 

  • Killen M, McGlothlin H, Lee-Kim J (2002) Between individuals and culture: individuals’ evaluations of exclusion from social groups. In: Keller H, Poortinga Y, Schoelmerich A (eds) Between biology and culture: perspectives on ontogenetic development. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp 159–191

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  • Kitchen A, Denton D, Brent L (1996) Self-recognition and abstraction in the common chimpanzee studied with distorting mirrors. PNAS 93:7405–7408

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Köhler W (1925) The mentality of apes. Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co., London

    Google Scholar 

  • Koski SE, Sterck EHM (2007) Triadic postconflict affiliation in captive chimpanzees: does consolation console? Anim Behav 73:133–142

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Koski SE, Sterck EHM (2009a) Empathetic chimpanzees: a proposal of the levels of emotional and cognitive processing in chimpanzee empathy. Eur J Dev Psychol 7(1):38–66

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Koski SE, Sterck EHM (2009b) Post-conflict third-party affiliation in chimpanzees: what’s in it for the third party? Am J Primatol 71:1–10

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Koski SE, de Vries H, van den Tweel SW, Sterck EHM (2007) What to do after a fight? The determinants and inter-dependency of post-conflict interactions in chimpanzees. Behaviour 144:529–555

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Kuhlmeier V, Wynn K, Bloom P (2003) Attribution of dispositional states by 12-month-olds. Psychol Sci 14(5):402–408

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Lehmann HE (1979) Yawning: a homeostatic reflex and its psychological significance. Bull Menninger Clin 43:123–136

    Google Scholar 

  • Leigh SR, Shea BT (1995) Ontogeny and the evolution of adult body size dimorphism in apes. Am J Primatol 36:37–60

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Lorenz K (1943) Die angeborenen Formen möglicher Erfahrung. Z Tierpsychol 5(2):235–409

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Marlowe FW (2009) Hadza cooperation: second-party punishment, yes; third-party punishment, no. Hum Nat 20:417–430

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Marlowe FW, Berbesque JC, Barr A, Barrett C, Bolyanatz A, Cardenas JC, Ensminger J, Gurven M, Gwako E, Henrich J, Henrich N, Lesorogol C, McElreath R, Tracer D (2008) More “altruistic” punishment in larger societies. Proc R Soc Lond B 275:587–590

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Marsh B (2002) Do animals use heuristics? J Bioecon 4:49–56

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Mendoza-Granados D, Sommer V (1995) Play in chimpanzees of the Arnhem Zoo: self-serving compromises. Primates 36(1):57–68

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Mitani JC (2009) Cooperation and competition in chimpanzees: current understanding and future challenges. Evol Anthropol 18(5):215–227

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Moghadam VM (2003) Modernizing women: gender and social change in the middle east. Lynne Rienner, Boulder

    Google Scholar 

  • Moll J, Zahn R, de Oliveira-Souza R, Krueger F, Grafman J (2005) The neural basis of human moral cognition. Nat Neurosci 6:799–809

    Google Scholar 

  • Muller MN (2002) Agonistic relations among Kanyawara chimpanzees. In: Boesch C, Hohmann G, Marchant LF (eds) Behavioural diversity in chimpanzees and Bonobos. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp 112–124

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  • Murdock GP (1967) Ethnographic atlas. University of Pittsburgh Press, Pittsburgh

    Google Scholar 

  • Murray CM, Wroblewski E, Pusey AE (2007) New case of intragroup infanticide in the chimpanzees of Gombe national park. Int J Primatol 28(1):23–37

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Newton-Fisher NE (2006) Female coalitions against male aggression in wild chimpanzees of the Budongo forest. Int J Primatol 27(6):1589–1599

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Nichols S (2002) Norms with feeling: towards a psychological account of moral judgment. Cognition 84:221–236

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Nichols S (2004) Sentimental rules. Oxford University Press, New York

  • Nishida T (1983) Alpha status and agonistic alliance in wild chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii). Primates 24(3):318–336

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Nishida T, Hosaka K (1996) Coalition strategies among adult male chimpanzees of the Mahale Mountains, Tanzania. In: McGrew W, Marchant L, Nishida T (eds) Great ape societies. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp 114–135

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  • Nishida T, Kawanaka K (1985) Within-group cannibalism by adult male chimpanzees. Primates 26:274–284

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Norikoshi K (1982) One observed case of cannibalism among wild chimpanzees of the Mahale Mountains. Primates 23:66–74

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Nucci LP (2001) Education in the moral domain. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Nucci LP, Turiel E (1978) Social interactions and the development of social concepts in preschool children. Child Dev 49:400–407

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Osvath M, Osvath H (2008) Chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes) and orangutan (Pongo abelii) forethought: self-control and pre-experience in the face of future tool use. Anim Cogn 11:661–674

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Parr LA (2001) Cognitive and physiological markers of emotional awareness. Anim Cogn 4:223–229

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Parr LA, Hopkins WD (2000) Brain temperature asymmetries and emotional perception in chimpanzees, Pan troglodytes. Physiol Behav 71:363–371

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Penn DC, Povinelli DJ (2007) On the lack of evidence that non-human animals possess anything remotely resembling a ‘theory of mind’. Philos Trans R Soc B 362:731–744

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Platek SM, Critton SR, Myers TE, Gallup GG Jr (2003) Contagious yawning: the role of self-awareness and mental state attribution. Cogn Brain Res 17:223–227

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Platteau JP (2000) Institutions, social norms, and economic development (fundamentals of development economics). Harwood Academic Publishers, Singapore

    Google Scholar 

  • Potegal M (2000) Post-tantrum affiliation with parents: the ontogeny of reconciliation. In: Aureli F, de Waal FBM (eds) Natural conflict resolution. University of California Press, London, pp 253–255

    Google Scholar 

  • Povinelli D, Vonk J (2003) Chimpanzee minds: suspiciously human? Trends Cogn Sci 7:157–160

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Povinelli DJ, Parks KA, Novak MA (1991) Do rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta) attribute knowledge and ignorance to others? J Comp Psychol 105:318–325

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Preston S, de Waal FBM (2002) Empathy: its ultimate and proximate bases. Behav Brain Sci 25:1–72

    Google Scholar 

  • Pusey A, Williams J, Goodall J (1997) The influence of dominance rank on the reproductive success of female chimpanzees. Science 277(5327):828–831

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Pusey AE, Oehlert GW, Williams JM, Goodall J (2005) Influence of ecological and social factors on body mass of wild chimpanzees. Int J Primatol 26(1):3–31

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Rakoczy H, Warneken F, Tomasello M (2008) The sources of normativity: young children’s awareness of the normative structure of games. Dev Psychol 44(3):878–881

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Reynolds V (2005) The chimpanzees of the Budongo forest: ecology, behaviour, and conservation. Oxford University Press, New York

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Richerson PJ, Boyd R (2005) Not by genes alone: how culture transformed human evolution. Chicago University Press, Chicago

    Google Scholar 

  • Rosati AG, Stevens JR, Hare B, Hauser MD (2007) The evolutionary origins of human patience: temporal preferences in chimpanzees, Bonobos, and human adults. Curr Biol 17:1663–1668

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Rumbaugh DM, Beran MJ, Savage-Rumbaugh ES (2003) Language. In: Maestripieri D (ed) Primate psychology. Harvard University Press, London, pp 395–423

    Google Scholar 

  • Ruvolo M (1997) Molecular phylogeny of the hominoids: inferences from multiple independent DNA sequence data sets. Mol Biol Evol 14(3):248–265

    Google Scholar 

  • Sakamaki T, Itoh N, Nishida T (2001) An attempted within-group infanticide in wild chimpanzees. Primates 42(4):359–366

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Santos L, Hauser MD (2002) A non-human primate’s understanding of solidity: dissociations between seeing and acting. Dev Sci 5(2):F1–F7

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Savage-Rumbaugh S, Shanker SG, Taylor JT (1998) Apes, language, and the human mind. Oxford University Press, New York

    Google Scholar 

  • Schino G, Geminiani S, Rosati L, Aureli F (2004) Behavioral and emotional response of japanese macaque (Macaca fuscata) mothers after their offspring receive an aggression. J Comp Psychol 118(3):340–346

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Scott ES (2000) Social norms and the legal regulation of marriage. Va Law Rev 86(8):1901–1970

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Silk J (2000) The function of peaceful post-conflict interactions: an alternative view. In: Aureli F, de Waal FBM (eds) Natural conflict resolution. University of California Press, London

    Google Scholar 

  • Silk JB, Brosnan SF, Vonk J, Henrich J, Povinelli D, Richardson AS, Lambeth SP, Mascaro J, Schapiro SJ (2005) Chimpanzees are indifferent in the welfare of unrelated group members. Nature 437:1357–1359

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Slocombe KE, Townsend SW, Zuberbühler K (2009) Wild chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii) distinguish between different scream types: evidence from a playback study. Anim Cogn 12:441–449

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Smetana JG (1981) Preschool children’s conceptions of moral and social rules. Child Dev 52:1333–1336

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Smetana JG (2006) Social domain theory: consistencies and variations in children’s moral and social judgments. In: Killen M, Smetana JG (eds) Handbook of moral development. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Mahwah, pp 119–154

    Google Scholar 

  • Smetana JG, Braeges JL (1990) The development of toddlers’ moral and conventional judgments. Merrill Palmer Q 36:329–346

    Google Scholar 

  • Sober E, Wilson DS (1998) Unto others—the evolution and psychology of unselfish behavior. Harvard University Press, Cambridge

    Google Scholar 

  • Sommer V (2000) The holy wars about infanticide. Which side are you on? and why? In: van Schaik CP, Janson CH (eds) Infanticide by males and its implications. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp 9–26

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  • Takahata Y (1985) Adult male chimpanzee kill and eat a male newborn infant: newly observed intragroup infanticide and cannibalism in Mahale Mountains National Park, Tanzania. Folia Primatol 44:161–170

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Tisak M (1993) Preschool children’s judgments of moral and personal events involving physical harm and property damage. Merrill Palmer Q 39:375–390

    Google Scholar 

  • Tomasello M (1999) The cultural origins of human cognition. University Press, Cambridge

    Google Scholar 

  • Tomasello M, Call J (1997) Primate cognition. Oxford University Press, New York

    Google Scholar 

  • Tomasello M, Carpenter M (2007) Shared intentionality. Dev Sci 10(1):121–125

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Tomasello M, Kruger AC, Ratner HH (1993) Cultural learning. Behav Brain Sci 16:495–552

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Tomasello M, Carpenter M, Call J, Behne T, Moll H (2005) Understanding and sharing intentions: the origins of cultural cognition. Behav Brain Sci 28:675–735

    Google Scholar 

  • Townsend SW (2007) Female-led infanticide in wild chimpanzees. Curr Biol 17(10):R355–R356

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Troisi A (2002) Displacement activities as a behavioral measure of stress in nonhuman primates and human subjects. Stress 5(1):47–54

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Turiel E (1983) The development of social knowledge: morality & convention. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge

    Google Scholar 

  • Turiel E (2005) Thought, emotions, and social interactional processes in moral development. In: Killen M, Smetana JG (eds) Handbook of moral development. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Mahwah, pp 7–36

    Google Scholar 

  • van Lawick-Goodall J (1968) The behaviour of free-living chimpanzees in the Gombe Stream area. Anim Behav Monogr 1:161–311

    Google Scholar 

  • van Schaik CP (2000) Infanticide by male primates: the sexual selection hypothesis revisited. In: van Schaik CP, Janson CH (eds) Infanticide my males and its implications. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp 27–61

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  • van Schaik CP (2003) Local traditions in orangutans and chimpanzees: social learning and social tolerance. In: Fragaszy DM, Perry S (eds) The biology of traditions: models and evidence. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp 297–329

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  • van Schaik CP, Pradhan GR, van Noordwijk MA (2004) Mating conflict in primates: infanticide, sexual harassment and female sexuality. In: Kappeler P, van Schaik CP (eds) Sexual selection in primates: new and comparative perspectives. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp 131–150

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  • Vetlesen AJ (1994) Perception, empathy, and judgment: an inquiry into the preconditions of moral performance. The Pennsylvania State University Press, University Park

    Google Scholar 

  • Vonk J, Brosnan SF, Silk JB, Henrich J, Richardson AS, Lambeth SP, Schapiro SJ, Povinelli DJ (2008) Chimpanzees do not take advantage of very low cost opportunities to deliver food to unrelated group members. Anim Behav 75:1757–1770

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Wang SH, Baillargeon R, Brueckner L (2004) Young infants’ reasoning about hidden objects: evidence from violation-of-expectation tasks with test trials only. Cognition 93(3):167–198

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Warneken F, Tomasello M (2006) Altruistic helping in human infants and young chimpanzees. Science 311(5765):1301–1303

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Warneken F, Hare B, Melis AP, Hanus D, Tomasello M (2007) Spontaneous altruism by chimpanzees and young children. PLoS Biol 5(7):e184

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Whiten A (1998) Imitation of the sequential structure of actions by chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes). J Comp Psychol 112(3):270–281

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Whiten A (2005) The second inheritance system of chimpanzees and humans. Nature 437:52–55

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Whiten A (2010) Ape behavior and the origins of human culture. In: Kappeler PM, Silk JB (eds) Mind the gap: tracing the origins of human universals. Springer, Berlin, pp 429–451

    Google Scholar 

  • Whiten A, Custance DM, Gomez JC, Teixidor P, Bard KA (1996) Imitative learning of artificial fruit processing in children (Homo sapiens) and chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes). J Comp Psychol 110(1):3–14

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Whiten A, Goodall J, McGrew WC, Nishida T, Reynolds V, Sugiyama Y, Tutin CE, Wrangham RW, Boesch C (1999) Cultures in chimpanzees. Nature 399:682–685

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Whiten A, Horner V, de Waal FBM (2005) Conformity to cultural norms of tool use in chimpanzees. Nature 437:737–740

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Wiessner P (2009) Experimental games of life among the Ju/’hoan Bushmen. Curr Anthropol 50(1):133–138

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Williams J, Liu AY, Pusey AE (2002) Costs and benefits of grouping for female chimpanzees at Gombe. In: Boesch C, Hohmann G, Marchant LF (eds) Behavioural diversity in chimpanzees and Bonobos. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp 192–203

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  • Wittling W (1995) Brain asymmetry in the control of autonomic physiologic activity. In: Davidson RJ, Hugdahl K (eds) Brain asymmetry. MIT Press, Cambridge, pp 305–357

    Google Scholar 

  • Woodward AL (1998) Infants selectively encode the goal object of an actor’s reach. Cognition 69:1–34

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Wrangham RW (1999) Evolution of coalitionary killing. Am J Phys Anthropol 110(S29):1–30

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Wrangham RW, de Waal FBM, McGrew WC (1994) The challenge of behavioural diversity. In: Wrangham RW, McGrew WC, de Waal FBM, Heltne PG (eds) Chimpanzee cultures. Chicago Academy of Sciences, Chicago, pp 1–21

    Google Scholar 

  • Yamamoto S, Tanaka M (2010) The influence of kin relationship and reciprocal context on chimpanzees’ other-regarding preferences. Anim Behav 79:595–602

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Yamamoto S, Humle T, Tanaka M (2009) Chimpanzees help each other upon request. PloS One 4(10):e7416

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Young HP (2002) The power of norms. In: Hammerstein P (ed) Genetic and cultural evolution of cooperation. The MIT Press, Cambridge, pp 389–399

    Google Scholar 

  • Young HP (2008) Social norms. The new Palgrave dictionary of economics. Macmillan, London

    Google Scholar 

  • Zahn-Waxler C, Radke-Yarrow M, Wagner E, Chapman M (1992) Development of concerns for others. Dev Psychol 28:126–136

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgments

This research was conducted at the Anthropological Institute & Museum of the University of Zurich and funded by the University Priority Research Program in Ethics of the University of Zurich. We thank the two anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments and Johannes Fischer for his help on an earlier draft of this paper.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Claudia Rudolf von Rohr.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Rudolf von Rohr, C., Burkart, J.M. & van Schaik, C.P. Evolutionary precursors of social norms in chimpanzees: a new approach. Biol Philos 26, 1–30 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10539-010-9240-4

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10539-010-9240-4

Keywords

Navigation