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International Journal of Primatology

, Volume 27, Issue 5, pp 1311–1336 | Cite as

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

  • Fernando Colmenares
Article

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:

captivity postconflict affiliation social behavior wild 

Notes

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

Project grants PB92-0144, PB95-0373, PB98-0773, and BSO2002-00161, from the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, Spain have continuously funded my research on conflict management and resolution in nonhuman primates and children. I thank the Directorate of the Madrid Zoo for permission to conduct the long-term research project on the colony of hamadryas baboons and for their collaboration. I prepared portions of the paper while I was a guest scientist in the Max-Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, at Leipzig, Germany. I thank Josep Call and Michael Tomasello for the use of the facilities in their department and for their hospitality, and the Ministry of Education and Science, Spain, for funding my stay through a Salvador de Madariaga scholarship (PR2004-0015). I thank Nicola Koyama and Elisabetta Palagi for inviting me to participate in the IPS Symposium in which I presented a draft version of the paper, and the Facultad de Psicología of the Universidad Complutense de Madrid for a travel grant to attend. Finally, I thank 2 anonymous reviewers for their constructive and helpful comments.

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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2006

Authors and Affiliations

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

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