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Effects of Competition On the Aggressive Behavior of Squirrel and Cebus Monkeys

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The social dominance structure and aggressive patterns in a group of four male adult squirrel monkeys and four adolescent cebus monkeys were analyzed across different test conditions. The effects on frequency and direction of aggressive interaction as well as on social dominance structure were assessed after systematically varying the size of testing area, presence or absence of reinforcement, kind of reinforcement (food or shock), and after the monkeys in each established group were separated for two weeks. Under all test conditions, the squirrel monkey's social dominance structure consisted of a dominant boss monkey and an almost completely linear hierarchy for the group. The cebus monkey's social structure consisted of a dominant boss monkey and an almost nonlinear hierarchy for the group. The presence of reinforcement, kind of reinforcement, and size of testing area were shown to have important effects on frequency but not on the direction of aggressive interactions in both the mature squirrel monkey group and immature cebus monkey group.

Affiliations: 1: (Division of Neurosurgery and Center for Neurobiological Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville, Fla., U.S.A.


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