Influence of kinship and spatial density on reconciliation and grooming in rhesus monkeys

J Call*, PG Judge, FBM deWaal

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)


Some cercopithecine primates direct disproportionate amounts of grooming, huddling, and agonistic support toward maternal kin. Disproportionate amounts of aggression are also directed toward maternal kin, however, suggesting that mechanisms that restore relationships damaged by aggression, such as reconciliation, might be biased toward these preferred social partners. Studies investigating kinship effects and reconciliation are inconsistent, however, perhaps because of differences in the environmental conditions under which behavior was observed. In order to test the effects of kinship and spatial density on affiliative and reconciliation behavior, we conducted focal and scan sampling on a group of rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta) living in an outdoor corral under low spatial density conditions. We then compared this data to previously published data on a group of the same species living under higher spatial density conditions. Neither overall grooming nor reconciliation were affected by spatial density once correction procedures were applied. Grooming was kin biased at both study sites, whereas reconciliation was kin biased only in the low-density group. Although data failed to support a Coping Model according to which grooming and reconciliation should go up under higher densities, we suggest that coping may be reflected not so much in overall rates of behavior but in strategic partner choices, such as the increased importance monkeys under crowded conditions appear to attach to nonkin partners. (C) 1996 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35-45
Number of pages11
JournalAmerican Journal of Primatology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1996


  • reconciliation
  • grooming
  • affiliation
  • rhesus monkey
  • Coping Model


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