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College of the Sciences

Time matching in reciprocating grooming partners- exploring why methodology matters

A recent publication from Erica Dunayer (Primate Behavior MS, 2011) and co-authors Maura Tyrell, Krishna Balasubramaniam, and Carol Berman examines methodological variation in the time frame in which researchers evaluate time-matched grooming in reciprocating individuals of free-ranging rhesus (Macaca mulatta) and captive crested macaques (Macaca nigra). They highlight the consequences of variation in the methodologies used by researchers to determine the time windows used to evaluate short and long-term reciprocation. They found that long time windows did not result in the overestimation of time matching for either species, but for free-ranging rhesus macaques, small windows for short-term reciprocation underestimated rank-related effects of time-matching. Their findings suggest researchers take a cautious approach when determining the time frame by which reciprocated grooming exchanges are evaluated and suggest survival analysis as the preferred approach.

Read more about the work in American Journal of Primatology

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