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.

Bonobos protect and console friends and kin

Norscia, Ivan
2013

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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http://www.plosone.org/article/fetchObject.action?uri=info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0079290&representation=PDF
Aggression; Animals; Anxiety; Empathy; Family; Pan paniscus; Behavior, Animal; Social Behavior; Medicine (all); Agricultural and Biological Sciences (all)
Palagi, Elisabetta; Norscia, Ivan
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/2318/1652861
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