Natural conflict resolution in brown capuchin monkeys (Cebus apella) - CII/ISPA/PI-04-011 (2004 to 2005)

Research Team:

António Santos (Project Leader)
João Daniel
Mónica Guimarães


Project's Summary:

In the past four decades, the study of primate’s social behaviour has rapidly developed into one of the most interesting areas of research, connecting biological and social sciences. These studies have shed light on the richness and diversity of primate social organization and consequently provided researchers with tools to understand how natural selection shapes psychology and social organization in group-living mammals, allowing scientists to go further in understanding human behavioural evolution.

Social relationships can be conceptualised as the result of a sequence of interactions between two individuals. Competition, social attraction and cooperation are the main principles governing interactions among primates. These often conflicting tendencies are integrated into a cohesive system of social relationships, although traditionally most attention has been given to the inequalities resulting from dominance relationships. Nowadays there is an emphasis on more positive features of social behaviour, such as coordination, negotiation, reconciliation and cooperation.

To enjoy the benefits of sociality, group living animals must overcome the cost of conflicts. Knowledge of how animals manage these conflicts it’s essential for understanding the dynamics of social systems, since the conflict of interests may compromise the benefits of group living, especially when it escalates to aggression.

With this project we propose to collect and interpret several kinds of information about post-conflict interactions, in a captive group of brown capuchin monkeys (Cebus apella), using direct observation techniques, throughout a period of approximately six months. The importance of this study resides in the fact that most works on reconciliation have been done in chimpanzees and Old World monkeys, and consequently very little is known about conflict management in New World monkeys. This project will able us to do intra- and interspecies comparisons, improving this way our knowledge of reconciliation and step a little further in the comprehension of how evolution shaped conflict resolution mechanisms.

Horários e Contactos

Dias úteis

das 9:30h às 13:30h

+351 21 881 1700/ 77