Knowledge of how animals manage their conflicts is critical for understanding the dynamics of social systems. During the last two decades research on gregarious animals, especially primates, has focused on the mechanisms of conflict management, mainly on friendly postconflict reunions (also called ‘reconciliation’) in which former opponents exchange affiliative behaviour soon after an aggressive conflict. Our aim in this paper is to present a framework in which the costs and benefits of friendly postconflict reunions, both for each individual opponent and for their mutual relationship, are used to predict the patterning of postconflict resolution mechanisms in other gregarious animals. The framework predicts the occurrence of postconflict reunions in species that live in stable social units, have individualized relationships, and experience postconflict hostility, but especially in those in which intragroup aggression disrupts valuable relationships. The critical issue is whether aggressive conflicts occur between cooperative partners and whether the level of aggression is sufficient to jeopardize the benefits associated with such valuable relationships. We conclude by proposing four research priorities to evaluate the role of friendly reunions in negotiating relationships and the way they are themselves influenced by asymmetries in partner value and biological market effects. Copyright 2002 The Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour. Published by Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved .
Animal Behaviour – Elsevier
Published: Sep 1, 2002
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