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Play-solicitation gestures in chimpanzees in the wild: flexible adjustment to social circumstances and individual matrices


Fröhlich, Marlen; Wittig, Roman M; Pika, Simone (2016). Play-solicitation gestures in chimpanzees in the wild: flexible adjustment to social circumstances and individual matrices. Royal Society Open Science, 3:160278.

Abstract

Social play is a frequent behaviour in great apes and involves sophisticated forms of communicative exchange. While it is well established that great apes test and practise the majority of their gestural signals during play interactions, the influence of demographic factors and kin relationships between the interactants on the form and variability of gestures are relatively little understood. We thus carried out the first systematic study on the exchange of play-soliciting gestures in two chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes) communities of different subspecies. We examined the influence of age, sex and kin relationships of the play partners on gestural play solicitations, including object-associated and self-handicapping gestures. Our results demonstrated that the usage of (i) audible and visual gestures increased significantly with infant age, (ii) tactile gestures differed between the sexes, and (iii) audible and visual gestures were higher in interactions with conspecifics than with mothers. Object-associated and self-handicapping gestures were frequently used to initiate play with same-aged and younger play partners, respectively. Our study thus strengthens the view that gestures are mutually constructed communicative means, which are flexibly adjusted to social circumstances and individual matrices of interactants.

Abstract

Social play is a frequent behaviour in great apes and involves sophisticated forms of communicative exchange. While it is well established that great apes test and practise the majority of their gestural signals during play interactions, the influence of demographic factors and kin relationships between the interactants on the form and variability of gestures are relatively little understood. We thus carried out the first systematic study on the exchange of play-soliciting gestures in two chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes) communities of different subspecies. We examined the influence of age, sex and kin relationships of the play partners on gestural play solicitations, including object-associated and self-handicapping gestures. Our results demonstrated that the usage of (i) audible and visual gestures increased significantly with infant age, (ii) tactile gestures differed between the sexes, and (iii) audible and visual gestures were higher in interactions with conspecifics than with mothers. Object-associated and self-handicapping gestures were frequently used to initiate play with same-aged and younger play partners, respectively. Our study thus strengthens the view that gestures are mutually constructed communicative means, which are flexibly adjusted to social circumstances and individual matrices of interactants.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Department of Anthropology
Dewey Decimal Classification:300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology
Language:English
Date:2016
Deposited On:30 Jan 2019 17:18
Last Modified:17 Sep 2019 19:53
Publisher:Royal Society Publishing
ISSN:2054-5703
OA Status:Gold
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1098/rsos.160278

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