Tolerant macaque species are less impulsive and reactive

Loyant, L., Waller, B.M. ORCID: 0000-0001-6303-7458, Micheletta, J., Meunier, H., Ballesta, S. and Joly, M., 2023. Tolerant macaque species are less impulsive and reactive. Animal Cognition, 26 (5), 1453–1466. ISSN 1435-9448

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Inhibitory control, the inhibition of impulsive behaviours, is believed to be key in navigating a complex social environment. Species characterised by higher social tolerance, living in more complex groups, with more diverse relationships, face higher uncertainty regarding the outcome of social interactions and, therefore, would benefit from employing more inhibitory strategies. To date, little is known about the selective forces that favour the evolution of inhibitory control. In this study, we compared inhibitory control skills in three closely related macaque species which differ in their social tolerance style. We tested 66 macaques from two institutions (Macaca mulatta, low tolerance; M. fascicularis, medium tolerance; and M. tonkeana, high tolerance) using a battery of validated inhibitory control touchscreen tasks. Higher social tolerance was associated with enhanced inhibitory control performances. More tolerant species were less impulsive and less distracted by pictures of unknown conspecifics. Interestingly, we did not find evidence that social tolerance degree was associated with performance in reversal learning. Overall, our results support the hypothesis that evolution has promoted the development of socio-cognitive skills to cope with the demands related to the complexity of the social environment.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: Animal Cognition
Creators: Loyant, L., Waller, B.M., Micheletta, J., Meunier, H., Ballesta, S. and Joly, M.
Publisher: Springer Science and Business Media LLC
Date: September 2023
Volume: 26
Number: 5
ISSN: 1435-9448
Rights: © The Author(s) 2023. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit
Divisions: Schools > School of Social Sciences
Record created by: Laura Ward
Date Added: 28 Sep 2023 15:28
Last Modified: 02 Oct 2023 12:12

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