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Social Bonds and Oxytocin in Wild Juvenile Chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes)

Author Corinne Ackermann
Director of thesis Prof. Dr. Klaus Zuberbühler
Co-director of thesis
Summary of thesis Like humans, wild chimpanzees form long-term bonds characterised by cooperative behaviour, both between related and unrelated individuals. It is assumed that individuals exchange cooperative behaviours by reciprocation where, in spite of temporary imbalances in investment, both individuals gain a net benefit over time. Yet it remains unclear how individuals keep track of past cooperative interactions, or how they choose a partner that will reciprocate. It is hypothesised that reciprocity requires advanced cognitive capacities, but alternatively, the endocrinal oxytocin-system could provide a non-cognitive physiological mechanism. I hypothesise that the oxytocin system provides a basic mechanism for the formation and maintenance of social bonds between mother-infant pairs. The same mechanism could also be adapted to influence social bond formation between other individuals as well. To investigate this hypothesis, I will focus on the development of social bond formation in (i) mother-infant pairs and (ii) juveniles/sub adults with other individuals by relating detailed observational data with differences/changes in individual oxytocin levels measured from non-invasively collected urine samples.
Status on-going
Administrative delay for the defence
URL https://www2.unine.ch/cms/site/compcog/op/edit/lang/en/corinne_ackermann