Research observing chimps in captivity found that victims of aggression were significantly calmer if a third-party approached and offered an embrace or kiss afterward.
After they're attacked chimps get fidgety. They scratch themselves, stroke their hair, and groom themselves. It's the psychological equivalent of biting your nails, playing with a ring and touching your hair, mustache or beard. In animal behavior, these actions are known as displacement behaviors. They increase during stress, anxiety and right after fights. But n the case of these fighting apes, the ones who got a hug or kiss showed fewer of them.
"Consolation usually took the form of a kiss or embrace," says Dr. Orlaith Fraser of the Research Center in Evolutionary Anthropology and Paleoecology at Liverpool John Moores University.
Primatologists have seen post-conflict affiliation before. In fact, it's been observed in a number of species not limited to monkeys and apes, and is well-known to lower stress. What's neat about this particular observation is the form it takes. Hugs and kisses rarely occur at any other time.
I think we could all learn a thing or two from the chimps!