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2012 Master's Level Graduate Research Conference

Session I - Session II - Session III - Session IV

Reciprocal Grooming and Time Matching in Sulawesi Black Crested Macaques

This paper examines reciprocal grooming and time-matching in a group of Sulawesi black crested macaques (Macaca nigra) at the Buffalo Zoo. This study examined whether grooming is reciprocated over long periods of time or only over an immediate time frame. According to biological markets theory, species with relaxed dominance hierarchies like the Sulawesi macaques should limit grooming reciprocation to immediate, short term exchanges between partners, in which the groomer matches the duration of grooming it has just received. The results indicate that Sulawesi black crested macaques groom reciprocally over several minutes, but not over days, weeks, or months. However, contrary to predictions of biological markets theory, they do not time match these grooming episodes. The lack of reciprocal grooming over long term time frames may be due to limited cognitive abilities to keep track of grooming given and received, or it may be that precise or “calculated reciprocity” is not important for maintaining grooming relationships. Instead of assuming that biological market forces determine grooming patterns, grooming reciprocity may be influenced by social interactions among individuals and mediated by “emotional bookkeeping” which involves a decision-making process based on the general emotional reaction an individual has of another individual.

Presenter: Maura Tyrrell (University at Buffalo, SUNY) --
Topic: Environmental Science/Anthropology
Location: 219 Hartwell
Time: 3:15 pm (Session IV)