Evidence of joint commitment in great apes’ natural joint actions

Raphaela Heesen, Klaus Zuberbühler, Adrian Bangerter, Katia Iglesias, Federico Rossano, Aude Pajot, Jean-Pascal Guéry, Emilie Genty

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Abstract

Human joint action seems special, as it is grounded in joint commitment - a sense of mutual obligation participants feel towards each other. Comparative research with humans and nonhuman great apes has typically investigated joint commitment by experimentally interrupting joint actions to study subjects’ resumption strategies. However, such experimental interruptions are human-induced, and thus the question remains of how great apes naturally handle interruptions. Here, we focus on naturally-occurring interruptions of joint actions, grooming and play, in bonobos and chimpanzees. Similar to humans, both species frequently resumed interrupted joint actions (and the previous behaviours, like grooming the same body part region or playing the same play type) with their previous partners and at the previous location. Yet, the probability of resumption attempts were unaffected by social bonds or rank. Our data suggests that great apes experience something akin to joint commitment, for which we discuss possible evolutionary origins.
Original languageEnglish
Article number211121
Number of pages15
JournalRoyal Society Open Science
Volume8
Issue number12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 8 Dec 2021

Keywords

  • joint action
  • joint commitment
  • great apes
  • social grooming
  • social play
  • politeness theory
  • BONOBOS PAN-PANISCUS
  • WILD CHIMPANZEES
  • NATIONAL-PARK
  • HIERARCHIES
  • VALIDATION
  • EVOLUTION

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