Vocalizations during post-conflict affiliations from victims toward aggressors based on uncertainty in Japanese macaques
by Noriko Katsu, Kazunori Yamada, Masayuki NakamichiWe investigated the use of vocalizations called “grunts,” “girneys,” and “coos” accompanied by post-conflict affiliative interaction between former opponents (reconciliation) in Japanese macaques (Macaca fuscata). Although reconciliation functions to repair bonds, such interactions sometimes entail risks of receiving further aggression. Vocalizations can be used at a distance from the former opponent; thus, we predict that vocalizations are used particularly by victims of a conflict, and are frequently used in situations of uncertainty when it is difficult for them to estimate whether the former opponent will resume aggression. In addition, we predict that vocalizations are effective in preventing further aggression. To test these hypotheses, we conducted observations of post-conflict and matched-control situations in female Japanese macaques living in a free-ranging group. We found that former opponents tended to be attracted to each other within the first minute following a conflict, thus demonstrating reconciliation behavior. Vocalizations were more frequently used by the victims in post-conflict interactions than under control situations; however, this tendency was not found in aggressors. When affiliation with the former opponent occurred, victims were more likely to use vocalizations towards less familiar opponents. These findings suggest that Japanese macaques used vocalizations more often when interacting with less predictable former opponents. Victims were more likely to receive aggression from former aggressors when engaged in affiliations with them than under no such affiliations. No significant differences were found in the probability of the victims receiving aggression, regardless of whether they used vocalizations; thus, whether the victim benefits from using vocalizations in these contexts remains unclear. Japanese macaques form despotic societies and therefore, further aggression was inevitable, to some degree, after a conflict. The use of vocalizations by a victim was found to depend on the nature of their relationship with the aggressor; however, the effectiveness of this behavior requires further investigation.
Publisher URL: http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article
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