Reciprocity can generate stable levels of cooperation among unrelated social partners. If individuals interact repeatedly, costs of altruistic acts can be compensated through an exchange of donor and receiver roles. Frequent interactions are conducive to attaining evolutionarily stable reciprocal exchange. High interaction frequencies are typical for group members maintaining close relationships among one another, which may thereby facilitate reciprocity. Norway rats (Rattus norvegicus) are highly social animals that were experimentally shown to reciprocally exchange food donations and allogrooming. Here, we tested experimentally the relationship between reciprocal cooperation and other social behaviours exchanged within dyads of wild-type Norway rats. In particular, we asked whether and how interactions differing in quality (characterised by affiliative and aggressive behaviours) influence reciprocal exchanges of different social services. Our experiment involved three steps: Focal individuals experienced social partners that were either providing them with food or not, via a learnt stick-pulling task. Thereafter, they could either interact physically with these partners, or not. Subsequently, we induced allogrooming among them by applying saltwater to an inaccessible part of the body, and tested for the reciprocation of allogrooming. When individuals were allowed to interact freely, previously cooperative food providers exhibited more aggression towards focal individuals than previously
Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology – Springer Journals
Published: Dec 1, 2017
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