Affective States, Motivation, and Prosocial Behaviour in Primates

  • Hika Kuroshima
  • Kazuo Fujita
Part of the Interdisciplinary Evolution Research book series (IDER)


Humans regularly help others upon seeing them in trouble, often almost impulsively. Help may be given even to strangers or to different species, with no return expected. Studies have reported that not only humans but also non-human primates show prosocial behaviours, such as helping and cooperation, in both natural and captive settings. Some researchers suggest that these behaviours relate to a sense of fairness and an ability to empathize. However, it is still not clear what kinds of affective states and motivation non-human species have and how they are involved in prosocial behaviours. In this chapter, we introduce our studies on cooperative behaviour, food sharing, and third-party evaluation in captive tufted capuchin monkeys (Sapajus apella), a New World monkey species. These studies demonstrated that the dominant monkeys behave prosocially towards subordinate monkeys, that capuchins are sensitive to partners’ efforts and rewards, and that they refuse food from humans who show anti-social behaviour towards others. From these results, we propose that advantageous inequality aversion may promote prosocial behaviour only towards subordinates and that empathy may not be important in food contexts.


Prosocial behaviour Cooperative behaviour Food sharing Third-party evaluation Capuchin monkey 



We are grateful for constructive comments and collaboration during these projects to Dr. James R. Anderson and Dr. Ayaka Takimoto. We also thank Minori Arahori, Benoit Bucher, and Risa Nagasawa for collaborating on projects. All our studies were supported by the Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research Nos. 20220004, 25240020, and 15K12047 to KF and Nos. 21700289 to HK.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hika Kuroshima
    • 1
  • Kazuo Fujita
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Psychology, Graduate School of LettersKyoto UniversityKyotoJapan

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