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Social inhibition and behavioural flexibility when the context changes: a comparison across six primate species

Amici, F, Call, J, Watzek, J, Brosnan, S and Aureli, F (2018) Social inhibition and behavioural flexibility when the context changes: a comparison across six primate species. Scientific Reports, 8. ISSN 2045-2322

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Abstract

The ability to inhibit previously employed strategies and flexibly adjust behavioural responses to external conditions may be critical for individual survival. However, it is unclear which factors predict their distribution across species. Here, we investigated social inhibition and behavioural flexibility in six primate species (chimpanzees, bonobos, orangutans, gorillas, capuchin monkeys and spider monkeys) differing in terms of phylogenetic relatedness, foraging ecology and social organization. Depending on the social context, individuals could maximize their food intake by inhibiting the selection of a larger food reward in one condition (i.e. inhibition), but not in others, which required them to flexibly switching strategies across conditions (i.e. behavioural flexibility). Overall, our study revealed inter-specific differences in social inhibition and behavioural flexibility, which partially reflected differences in fission-fusion dynamics. In particular, orangutans and chimpanzees showed the highest level of inhibitory skills, while gorillas and capuchin monkeys showed the lowest one. In terms of behavioural flexibility, orangutans and spider monkeys were the best performers, while bonobos and capuchin monkeys were the worst ones. These results contribute to our understanding that inhibition and behavioural flexibility may be linked in more complex ways than usually thought, although both abilities play a crucial role in efficient problem solving.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Science & Technology; Multidisciplinary Sciences; Science & Technology - Other Topics; CHIMPANZEES PAN-TROGLODYTES; FISSION-FUSION DYNAMICS; CEBUS-APELLA; CAPUCHIN MONKEYS; ANIMAL INNOVATION; WILD BABOONS; GREAT APES; BRAIN SIZE; INFORMATION; PERFORMANCE
Subjects: Q Science > QL Zoology
Divisions: Natural Sciences and Psychology
Publisher: Nature Publishing Group
Related URLs:
Date Deposited: 26 Mar 2018 10:19
Last Modified: 04 Oct 2018 14:27
DOI or Identification number: 10.1038/s41598-018-21496-6
URI: http://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/8370

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