Testing the contagious nature of allopreening: bystander ravens are affected by conspecifics’ affiliative interactions

Autor(en)
Katharina Wenig, Lisa Pacher, Thomas Bugnyar
Abstrakt

Emotional contagion refers to the mechanism of aligning with conspecifics' emotional states and is thought to be highly beneficial in social group living. While emotional contagion is well studied in humans, most studies in nonhuman animals fail to clearly distinguish between behavioural and emotional contagion. Furthermore, evidence for positive emotional contagion in nonhuman animals is almost entirely restricted to the context of play. In the present study, we aimed at adding observational evidence of contagion in a positive context, while separating aspects of behavioural and emotional contagion. In a group of nonbreeder common ravens, Corvus corax, we investigated whether witnessing conspecifics in positive social interaction, namely allopreening, would influence a bystander's behavioural and, possibly, emotional state. We recorded behavioural expressions of bystanders in postpreening observation phases and compared them to those in matched-control observation phases. We found effects of witnessing others' allopreening on the bystanders' subsequent affiliative interactions but not on their self-directed behaviours (e.g. autopreening) or agonistic interactions. Specifically, bystanders were more likely to engage in allopreening themselves in the postpreening observation phase than in the matched-control observation phase, which could be explained via behavioural and emotional contagion; however, bystanders also showed elevated levels of nonpreening affiliative interactions and spent more time close to conspecifics after observing others allopreening, which hints towards a more general effect on the bystanders' emotional states. Whether these nonpreening affiliative interactions are indeed an indication of emotional contagion needs to be tested in further studies that measure, and manipulate, emotional states.

Organisation(en)
Core Facility KLF für Verhaltens- und Kognitionsbiologie, Department für Verhaltens- und Kognitionsbiologie
Externe Organisation(en)
Universität Wien
Journal
Animal Behaviour
Band
184
Seiten
71-80
Anzahl der Seiten
10
ISSN
0003-3472
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.anbehav.2021.12.009
Publikationsdatum
02-2022
Peer-reviewed
Ja
ÖFOS 2012
106051 Verhaltensbiologie
Schlagwörter
ASJC Scopus Sachgebiete
Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics, Animal Science and Zoology
Link zum Portal
https://ucris.univie.ac.at/portal/de/publications/testing-the-contagious-nature-of-allopreening-bystander-ravens-are-affected-by-conspecifics-affiliative-interactions(0e8d7142-cb17-4b3f-b9ac-aeb83c66ea08).html