Aggression, grooming and group-level cooperation in white-faced capuchins (Cebus capucinus): Insights from social networks

Margaret C. Crofoot, Daniel Ian Rubenstein, Arun S. Maiya, Tanya Y. Berger-Wolf

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


The form of animal social systems depends on the nature of agonistic and affiliative interactions. Social network theory provides tools for characterizing social structure that go beyond simple dyadic interactions and consider the group as a whole. We show three groups of capuchin monkeys from Barro Colorado Island, Panama, where there are strong connections between key aspects of aggression, grooming, and proximity networks, and, at least among females, those who incur risk to defend their group have particular "social personalities." Although there is no significant correlation for any of the network measures between giving and receiving aggression, suggesting that dominance relationships do not follow a simple hierarchy, strong correlations emerge for many measures between the aggression and grooming networks. At the local, but not global, scale, receiving aggression and giving grooming are strongly linked in all groups. Proximity shows no correlation with aggression at either the local or the global scale, suggesting that individuals neither seek out nor avoid aggressors. Yet, grooming has a global but not local connection to proximity. Extensive groomers who tend to direct their efforts at other extensive groomers also spend time in close proximity to many other individuals. These results indicate the important role that prosociality plays in shaping female social relationships. We also show that females who receive the least aggression, and thus pay low costs for group living, are most likely to participate in group defense. No consistent "social personality" traits characterize the males who invest in group defense.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)821-833
Number of pages13
JournalAmerican Journal of Primatology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Animal Science and Zoology


  • Barro Colorado Island
  • Collective action
  • Intergroup competition
  • Social network analysis


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