Network Analysis as a Tool to Understand Social Development in Spider Monkeys
American Journal of Primatology
The emerging field of network science has demonstrated that an individual's connectedness within their social network has cascading effects to other dimensions of life. Like humans, spider monkeys live in societies with high fission–fusion dynamics, and are remarkably social. Social network analysis (SNA) is a powerful tool for quantifying connections that may vary as a function of initiating or receiving social behaviors, which has been described as shifting social roles. In primatology, the SNA literature is dominated by work in catarrhines, and has yet to be applied to the study of development in a platyrrhine model. Here, SNA was utilized in combination with R-Index social role calculation to characterize social interaction patterns in juvenile and adult Colombian spider monkeys (Ateles fusciceps rufiventris). Connections were examined across five behaviors: embrace, face-embrace, grooming, agonism, and tail-wrapping from 186 hr of observation and four network metrics. Mann–Whitney U tests were utilized to determine differences between adult and juvenile social network patterns for each behavior. Face-embrace emerged as the behavior with different network patterns for adults and juveniles for every network metric. With regard to social role, juveniles were receivers, not initiators, for embrace, face-embrace, and grooming (ps < .05). Network and social role differences are discussed in light of social development and aspects of the different behaviors.
Boeving, Emily R.; Rodrigues, Michelle A.; and Nelson, Eliza L., "Network Analysis as a Tool to Understand Social Development in Spider Monkeys" (2020). Social and Cultural Sciences Faculty Research and Publications. 297.