Supplementary material from "Flexible signalling strategies by victims mediate post-conflict interactions in bonobos"

Posted on 23.06.2022 - 08:16
Compared to other species, humans excel at voluntarily controlling and strategically displaying emotional signals. Nevertheless, although animal emotion expressions have been traditionally viewed as involuntary arousal responses, new evidence suggests that their emotional signals may, to some extent, also be subject of voluntary control. A key context to explore this is during post-conflict periods, where signalling by distressed victims may influence bystander responses, including the offering of consolation. To address this, our study investigates the signalling behaviour of sanctuary-living bonobo victims following aggression and its relation to audience composition and post-conflict interactions. Results show that the production of paedomorphic signals by victims (regardless of age) increased their chances of receiving consolation. In adults, the production of such signals additionally reduced risk of renewed aggression from opponents. Signal production increased with audience size, yet strategies differed by age: while immatures reduced signalling in proximity of close-social partners, adults did so especially after consolation. These results suggest that bonobos can flexibly adjust their emotion signalling to influence the outcome of post-conflict events, and that this tendency has a developmental trajectory. Overall, these findings highlight the role that flexible emotion communication likely played in the sociality of our last common ancestor with Pan.This article is part of the theme issue ‘Cognition, communication and social bonds in primates’.

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Heesen, Raphaela; Austry, Diane A.; Upton, Zoe; Clay, Zanna (2022): Supplementary material from "Flexible signalling strategies by victims mediate post-conflict interactions in bonobos". The Royal Society. Collection. https://doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.c.6060642.v1
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