Making amends: Adaptive perspectives on conflict remediation in monkeys, apes, and humans

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

24 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Conflict is an integral, and potentially disruptive, element in the lives of humans and other group-living animals. But conflicts are often settled, sometimes within minutes after the altercation has ended. The goal of this paper is to understand why primates, including humans, make amends. Primatologists have gathered an impressive body of evidence which demonstrates that monkeys and apes use a variety of behavioral mechanisms to resolve conflicts. Peaceful post-conflict interactions in nonhuman primates, sometimes labeled "reconciliation," have clear and immediate effects upon former adversaries, relieving uncertainty about whether aggression will continue, reducing stress, increasing tolerance, and reducing anxiety about whether aggressors will resume aggression toward former victims. However, the long-term effects of these interactions are less clearly established, leaving room to debate the adaptive function of conflict resolution strategies among primates. It is possible that reconciliatory behavior enhances the quality of valued, long-term social relationships or that reconciliatory interactions are signals that the conflict has ended and the actor's intentions are now benign. Both of these hypotheses may help us to understand how and why monkeys, apes, and humans make amends.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)341-368
Number of pages28
JournalHuman Nature
Volume9
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1998
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Pongidae
remediation
monkeys
Primates
aggression
primate
conflict management
anxiety
interaction
long term effects
uncertainty
conflict resolution
reconciliation
tolerance
animal
conflict
Apes
Monkey
Remediation
animals

Keywords

  • Apologies
  • Conflict
  • Conflict resolution
  • Forgiveness
  • Reconciliation
  • Signals of intent

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Anthropology

Cite this

Making amends : Adaptive perspectives on conflict remediation in monkeys, apes, and humans. / Silk, Joan.

In: Human Nature, Vol. 9, No. 4, 1998, p. 341-368.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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