Social inhibition and behavioural flexibility when the context changes : a comparison across six primate species
MetadataShow full item record
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.
Amici , F , Call , J , Watzek , J , Brosnan , S & Aureli , F 2018 , ' Social inhibition and behavioural flexibility when the context changes : a comparison across six primate species ' Scientific Reports , vol. 8 , 3067 . https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-018-21496-6
© 2018 The Authors. Open Access. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.
DescriptionThis work was conducted while the first author held a Humboldt Research Fellowship for Postdoctoral Researchers (Humboldt ID number 1138999). We acknowledge support from the German Research Foundation (DFG) and Leipzig University within the program of Open Access Publishing.
Items in the St Andrews Research Repository are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.