Abstract # 5916 Event # 136:

Scheduled for Sunday, September 14, 2014 03:30 PM-03:45 PM: Session 21 (Mary Gay) Oral Presentation


N. G. Sharpe1, D. R. Davison2 and B. McCowan1,3
1University of California, Davis, Animal Behavior Graduate Group, One Shields Avenue, Davis, CA 95616, USA, 2University of Bath, Bath, United Kingdom, 3Population, Health, and Reproduction, University of California, Davis
     The role of individuals’ personalities in determining the social dynamics of groups has rarely been systematically investigated in nonhuman primates, perhaps due to difficulties inherent in characterizing differences in personality composition between groups. Yet we know that marked differences exist in alpha male dominance style in chimpanzees, which influence aggression and reconciliation dynamics. This study examines how personalities of key individuals influence conflict patterns in groups of sanctuary-living chimpanzees. We assessed the personalities of 140 chimpanzees in six groups at two African sanctuaries via trait rating, and recorded conflict and affiliation patterns using all-occurrences and scan sampling over approximately 300 hours per group during five consecutive months. We analyzed these data using generalized linear models with model selection based on AICc scores. Our data demonstrated that alpha male aggressiveness scores on the personality survey matched their behavioral patterns, with males scored as more aggressive receiving more pant-grunts and initiating more fights than males with lower scores. Interestingly, groups with alphas scored as more aggressive had fewer fights per day over all, and models including alpha male aggressiveness had better AICc scores than models including only group size, alpha male age, and average age of group members. This suggests that variance in conflict dynamics between groups can be explained not only by demographics but also by the personalities present in the group.