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DEPE | Séminaires BEEPSS / BEEPSS Seminars » Social Networks in an individual-based model of primate social (...)

Social Networks in an individual-based model of primate social behaviour

Last update: : Tuesday 23 February 2016, by Nicolas Busser

Par : Dr. Ivan Puga-Gonzales, IPHC-DEPE
Date : vendredi 26 février 2016 à 13h
Lieu : IPHC, Amphithéâtre Grünewald, bâtiment 25

When attempting to explain complex social behavior and social structure of primates from a proximate perspective, a common practice is to infer highly cognitive processes from the observed behavioral patterns. This is grounded on the assumption of an evolutionary continuity between human and non-human primates cognitive abilities. An equally valid argument, however, is that instead of high cognition, human use simple cognitive processes in most of their daily life interactions; an argument which seems supported by contemporary human psychology and decision-making science. It is questionable, therefore, whether cognitive sophistication is absolutely necessary for the display of complex social behavior. Recently, we have shown, with the help of an individual-based model, that self-organization and simple behavioral rules suffice to generate complex patterns of social behavior; many of which resemble those described in tolerant and intolerant societies of macaques. In the model, these patterns emerge as a side-effect of the socio-spatial structure of the group, suggesting thus, that a similar mechanism may give rise to complex behavior in societies of macaques. This hypothesis, however, has not been tested due to the lack of empirical studies on spatial structure. An alternative is to use social networks analysis as a proxy for spatial structure. Here we do so. We analyze social networks from the model and examine whether these networks bear any resemblance with those of macaques. Our findings show that the social networks of the model share similar qualitative features as those of macaques. Networks become less dense, more modular, and more centralized as group size increases. In simulations resembling intolerant rather than tolerant societies, the density of the network is lower and the modularity, network centralization, and centralization of dominant individuals are higher. Our analysis suggests that the spatial structure of the model is similar to that of macaques and thus that the spatial structure in combination with simple behavioral rules may play a role in the emergence of complex social behavior.