CZAAWE Resource Article

Play Signaling and the Perception of Social Rules by Juvenile Chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes)
Publication Type 
Journal Article
Year of publication 
Journal of Comparative Psychology
Prescriptive social rules are enforced statistical regularities. The authors investigated whether juvenile chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) recognize and use enforced statistical regularities to guide dyadic play behavior. They hypothesized (a) that proximity of adults, especially mothers of younger play partners, to play bouts will increase the play signaling of older partners and (b) that when juvenile-juvenile play bouts occur in proximity to adults, older partners will play at a lower intensity than when no adults are present. They found that older and younger partners increase their play signaling in the presence of the mothers of younger partners, particularly as the intensity of play bouts increases. In contrast to their hypothesis, older partners played more roughly when the mothers of younger partners were in proximity. These results suggest that juvenile chimpanzees increase play signaling to prevent termination of the play bouts by mothers of younger partners.