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Bonobos protect and console friends and kin.

Palagi E, Norscia I - PLoS ONE (2013)

Bottom Line: The victim may perceive the motivational autonomy of the bystander, who does not require an invitation to provide post-conflict affiliative contact.Spontaneous affiliation followed the empathic gradient described for humans, being mostly offered to kin, then friends, then acquaintances.Overall, our findings do not only indicate the consolatory function of spontaneous third-party affiliation but they also suggest that consolation in the bonobo may be an empathy-based phenomenon.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Museo di Storia Naturale e del Territorio, Università di Pisa, Calci - Pisa, Italy ; Unità di Primatologia Cognitiva, Istituto di Scienze e Tecnologie della Cognizione, Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, Roma, Italy.

ABSTRACT
Post-conflict third-party affiliation has been reported to have different functional meanings, one of them being consolation. Here, we tested the main hypotheses that have been put forth to explain the presence of this phenomenon at a functional level in the bonobo: Self-Protection Hypothesis, Victim-Protection Hypothesis, Relationship-Repair or Substitute for Reconciliation Hypothesis, and Consolation Hypothesis. By analyzing the data collected over 10 years, we investigated what factors affected the distribution of both spontaneous third party affiliation (initiated by the bystander) and solicited third party affiliation (initiated by the victim). We considered factors related to the individual features (sex, rank, age) of victim and bystander, their relationship quality (kinship, affiliation), and the effect that third party affiliation had on the victim (such as protection against further attacks and anxiety reduction). Both spontaneous and solicited third party affiliation reduced the probability of further aggression by group members on the victim (Victim-Protection Hypothesis supported). Yet, only spontaneous affiliation reduced victim anxiety (measured via self-scratching), thus suggesting that the spontaneous gesture--more than the protection itself--works in calming the distressed subject. The victim may perceive the motivational autonomy of the bystander, who does not require an invitation to provide post-conflict affiliative contact. Moreover, spontaneous--but not solicited--third party affiliation was affected by the bond between consoler and victim, being the relationship between consoler and aggressor irrelevant to the phenomenon distribution (Consolation Hypothesis supported). Spontaneous affiliation followed the empathic gradient described for humans, being mostly offered to kin, then friends, then acquaintances. Overall, our findings do not only indicate the consolatory function of spontaneous third-party affiliation but they also suggest that consolation in the bonobo may be an empathy-based phenomenon.

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Related in: MedlinePlus

Anxiety related scratching and third party affiliation.Box plots of scratching frequency: 2a) after spontaneous affiliative contact, in absence of affiliative contact and under control conditions (MC); 2b) after solicited affiliative contact, in absence of affiliative contact and under control conditions (MC). Solid horizontal lines indicate medians; box length corresponds to the interquartile range; thin horizontal lines indicate the observed value range. Double and single asterisk, and “ns” indicate highly significant (p<0.01, **), significant (p<0.05, *) and non-significant results respectively. Results were obtained via Dunnett's post-hoc test.
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pone-0079290-g002: Anxiety related scratching and third party affiliation.Box plots of scratching frequency: 2a) after spontaneous affiliative contact, in absence of affiliative contact and under control conditions (MC); 2b) after solicited affiliative contact, in absence of affiliative contact and under control conditions (MC). Solid horizontal lines indicate medians; box length corresponds to the interquartile range; thin horizontal lines indicate the observed value range. Double and single asterisk, and “ns” indicate highly significant (p<0.01, **), significant (p<0.05, *) and non-significant results respectively. Results were obtained via Dunnett's post-hoc test.

Mentions: Rough scratching rates were significantly different in the three conditions: without contact (PC-no cont), following spontaneous affiliative contact (PC-spont; in absence of reconciliation), and baseline condition (MC) (Exact Friedman: Chi-square = 12.235, df = 2, N = 10, p<0.001). In particular, compared to MC, scratching rates increased significantly after aggression not followed by affinitive contacts (MC vs PC-no cont; Dunnett's test: q = 3.82, p<0.01). Spontaneous affiliative contacts significantly reduced scratching levels after aggression (PC-spont vs PC-no cont; Dunnett's test: q = 3.33, p<0.01), restoring scratching baseline levels (PC-spont vs MC; Dunnett's test: q = 1.33, ns) (Figure 2a).


Bonobos protect and console friends and kin.

Palagi E, Norscia I - PLoS ONE (2013)

Anxiety related scratching and third party affiliation.Box plots of scratching frequency: 2a) after spontaneous affiliative contact, in absence of affiliative contact and under control conditions (MC); 2b) after solicited affiliative contact, in absence of affiliative contact and under control conditions (MC). Solid horizontal lines indicate medians; box length corresponds to the interquartile range; thin horizontal lines indicate the observed value range. Double and single asterisk, and “ns” indicate highly significant (p<0.01, **), significant (p<0.05, *) and non-significant results respectively. Results were obtained via Dunnett's post-hoc test.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC3818457&req=5

pone-0079290-g002: Anxiety related scratching and third party affiliation.Box plots of scratching frequency: 2a) after spontaneous affiliative contact, in absence of affiliative contact and under control conditions (MC); 2b) after solicited affiliative contact, in absence of affiliative contact and under control conditions (MC). Solid horizontal lines indicate medians; box length corresponds to the interquartile range; thin horizontal lines indicate the observed value range. Double and single asterisk, and “ns” indicate highly significant (p<0.01, **), significant (p<0.05, *) and non-significant results respectively. Results were obtained via Dunnett's post-hoc test.
Mentions: Rough scratching rates were significantly different in the three conditions: without contact (PC-no cont), following spontaneous affiliative contact (PC-spont; in absence of reconciliation), and baseline condition (MC) (Exact Friedman: Chi-square = 12.235, df = 2, N = 10, p<0.001). In particular, compared to MC, scratching rates increased significantly after aggression not followed by affinitive contacts (MC vs PC-no cont; Dunnett's test: q = 3.82, p<0.01). Spontaneous affiliative contacts significantly reduced scratching levels after aggression (PC-spont vs PC-no cont; Dunnett's test: q = 3.33, p<0.01), restoring scratching baseline levels (PC-spont vs MC; Dunnett's test: q = 1.33, ns) (Figure 2a).

Bottom Line: The victim may perceive the motivational autonomy of the bystander, who does not require an invitation to provide post-conflict affiliative contact.Spontaneous affiliation followed the empathic gradient described for humans, being mostly offered to kin, then friends, then acquaintances.Overall, our findings do not only indicate the consolatory function of spontaneous third-party affiliation but they also suggest that consolation in the bonobo may be an empathy-based phenomenon.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Museo di Storia Naturale e del Territorio, Università di Pisa, Calci - Pisa, Italy ; Unità di Primatologia Cognitiva, Istituto di Scienze e Tecnologie della Cognizione, Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, Roma, Italy.

ABSTRACT
Post-conflict third-party affiliation has been reported to have different functional meanings, one of them being consolation. Here, we tested the main hypotheses that have been put forth to explain the presence of this phenomenon at a functional level in the bonobo: Self-Protection Hypothesis, Victim-Protection Hypothesis, Relationship-Repair or Substitute for Reconciliation Hypothesis, and Consolation Hypothesis. By analyzing the data collected over 10 years, we investigated what factors affected the distribution of both spontaneous third party affiliation (initiated by the bystander) and solicited third party affiliation (initiated by the victim). We considered factors related to the individual features (sex, rank, age) of victim and bystander, their relationship quality (kinship, affiliation), and the effect that third party affiliation had on the victim (such as protection against further attacks and anxiety reduction). Both spontaneous and solicited third party affiliation reduced the probability of further aggression by group members on the victim (Victim-Protection Hypothesis supported). Yet, only spontaneous affiliation reduced victim anxiety (measured via self-scratching), thus suggesting that the spontaneous gesture--more than the protection itself--works in calming the distressed subject. The victim may perceive the motivational autonomy of the bystander, who does not require an invitation to provide post-conflict affiliative contact. Moreover, spontaneous--but not solicited--third party affiliation was affected by the bond between consoler and victim, being the relationship between consoler and aggressor irrelevant to the phenomenon distribution (Consolation Hypothesis supported). Spontaneous affiliation followed the empathic gradient described for humans, being mostly offered to kin, then friends, then acquaintances. Overall, our findings do not only indicate the consolatory function of spontaneous third-party affiliation but they also suggest that consolation in the bonobo may be an empathy-based phenomenon.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus