Bonobos prefer individuals that hinder others over those that help
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Humans closely monitor others’ cooperative relationships [1, 2]. Children and adults willingly incur costs to reward helpers and punish non-helpers—even as bystanders [3, 4, 5]. Already by 3 months, infants favor individuals that they observe helping others [6, 7, 8]. This early-emerging prosocial preference may be a derived motivation that accounts for many human forms of cooperation that occur beyond dyadic interactions and are not exhibited by other animals [9, 10]. As the most socially tolerant nonhuman ape [11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17] (but see ), bonobos (Pan paniscus) provide a powerful phylogenetic test of whether this trait is derived in humans. Bonobos are more tolerant than chimpanzees, can flexibly obtain food through cooperation, and voluntarily share food in captivity and the wild, even with strangers [11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17] (but see ). Their neural architecture exhibits a suite of characteristics associated with greater sensitivity to others [19, 20], and their sociality is hypothesized to have evolved due to selection against male aggression [21, 22, 23]. Here we show in four experiments that bonobos discriminated agents based on third-party interactions. However, they did not exhibit the human preference for helpers. Instead, they reliably favored a hinderer that obstructed another agent’s goal (experiments 1–3). In a final study (experiment 4), bonobos also chose a dominant individual over a subordinate. Bonobos’ interest in hinderers may reflect attraction to dominant individuals . A preference for helpers over hinderers may therefore be derived in humans, supporting the hypothesis that prosocial preferences played a central role in the evolution of human development and cooperation.
Krupenye , C & Hare , B 2018 , ' Bonobos prefer individuals that hinder others over those that help ' , Current Biology , vol. 28 , no. 2 , e5 , pp. 280-286 . https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2017.11.061
© 2017 Elsevier Ltd. This work has been made available online in accordance with the publisher’s policies. This is the author created, accepted version manuscript following peer review and may differ slightly from the final published version. The final published version of this work is available at https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2017.11.061
DescriptionThis research was supported in part by National Science Foundation (NSF) grants NSF-GRFP DGE-1106401 to C.K. and NSF-BCS-08-27552-02 and NSF-BCS- 10-25172 to B.H.
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