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Look before you leap - individual variation in social vigilance shapes socio-spatial group properties in an agent-based model

Evers, Ellen ; De Vries, Han ; Spruijt, Berry M ; Sterck, Elisabeth H. M

Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 2012, Vol.66(6), p.931-945 [Periódico revisado por pares]

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  • Título:
    Look before you leap - individual variation in social vigilance shapes socio-spatial group properties in an agent-based model
  • Autor: Evers, Ellen ; De Vries, Han ; Spruijt, Berry M ; Sterck, Elisabeth H. M
  • Assuntos: Original Paper ; Social Vigilance ; Social Attention ; Aggression ; Social Behavior ; Individual-Based Model ; Self-Organization
  • É parte de: Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 2012, Vol.66(6), p.931-945
  • Descrição: Next to predator detection, primate vigilance also serves to keep track of relevant conspecifics. The degree of vigilance towards group members often reflects the dominance rank of an individual: subordinates pay attention to dominants. Although it has been suggested that subordinates’ vigilance may result in spatial centrality of dominants, this has not been addressed in either empirical or modeling studies. Using agent-based models, we determined how social vigilance affects socio-spatial properties of primate groups. A basic model without social vigilance, where individuals avoid potential aggressors ( avoidance model ), was contrasted with two models that each additionally included a different type of social vigilance: a) monitoring a specific potential aggressor to remain informed on its whereabouts ( monitoring model ) or b) scanning the whole group to detect potential aggressors ( scanning model ). Adding monitoring or scanning behavior to the avoidance model reinforced spatial centrality of dominants, a pattern often observed in primates, and resulted in more spread out groups. Moreover, variation in scanning tendency alone was already sufficient to generate spatial centrality of dominants: frequently scanning subordinates could move further away from the group center than dominants, before losing sight of group members. In the monitoring model , two mechanisms caused decreased encounter frequencies among subordinates: a) increased inter-individual distances, and b) frequent monitoring of central dominants. In the scanning model , encounters among subordinates decreased due to increased inter-individual distances. This agent-based model study provides a clear indication that individual variation in social vigilance may be an important structuring feature of primate social groups.

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