Abstract # 234:

Scheduled for Monday, September 19, 2011 03:30 PM-03:45 PM: Session 32 (Meeting Room 410)


NETWORK STABILITY IS A BALANCING ACT OF PERSONALITY, POWER, AND CONFLICT DYNAMICS IN RHESUS MACAQUE SOCIETIES

B. McCowan1,2, B. Beisner1,3, J. P. Capitanio1,4, M. Jackson1, S. Seil1, E. R. Atwill2 and H. Fushing5
1California National Primate Research Center, University of California Davis, Davis, CA 95616, USA, 2Department of Population Health & Reproduction, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis, 3Department of Anthropology, Pennsylvania State University, 4Department of Psychology, University of California, Davis, 5Department of Statistics, University of California, Davis
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Stability in biological systems requires evolved mechanisms that promote robustness. Cohesive primate social groups represent one example of a stable biological system, which persist in spite of frequent conflict. Both internal factors (e.g., personality, sex) and external factors (e.g., rank dynamics, sex ratio) were measured to examine their effect on network structure and group stability in rhesus macaques. Seven groups comprised of 69 matrilines and 1152 individuals were the focus of this study (7 months each, ~1200 hours). Data were collected on the affiliative, submissive and aggressive interactions among individuals, as well as the number of wounds and social relocations. The results yielded three main findings. First, successful third-party intervention behavior is a mechanism of group stability in rhesus macaques in that it resulted in less wounding in social groups (p=0.025). Second, personality/temperament is the primary factor that determines which individuals perform the role of key intervener, via its effect on social power (p=0.032) and dominance discrepancy. Finally, individuals with high social power are also key players in grooming networks (p=0.005), and receive reconciliations from a higher diversity of individuals (p=0.025). The results from this study provide strong evidence that individual/group characteristics such as personality and sex ratio influence network structures such as patterns of reconciliation, grooming and conflict intervention that are indicators of network robustness and consequent health and well-being in rhesus macaque societies.