Behaviour 2019
Common marmoset reactions toward conspecifics’ arousal
Francisco E. de Oliveira Terceiro1,2, Erik P. Willems2, Arrilton Araújo1, Judith M. Burkart2. 1Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Norte, Natal, RN, Brazil; 2Universität Zürich, Zurich, ZH, Switzerland

Consolation behaviors have been observed in several species; however, it is unclear to what extent they are based on empathy-related skills. Our goal was to examine these skills in Callithrix jacchus. This species performs well in two of the three components crucial for empathy-driven consolation. Thus, to test the third component, i.e., matching with others, we designed an experiment in which non-aroused marmosets would encounter an aroused vs. non-aroused individual. Moreover, we evaluated whether after encountering a distressed conspecific they would direct more affiliative interactions to the conspecific. We found that group members were more likely to show piloerection after encountering an aroused conspecific. Furthermore, they were more likely to engage in affiliative interactions with an aroused conspecific. Importantly, this pattern was shown by group members regardless of their own arousal condition, suggesting that other-regarding motivations were part of their behaviors motive. This indicates that C. jacchus have a broader repertoire of empathy-related skills. And might also imply that cooperative breeding provided a social environment easing the rise of such skills.