Thursday, September 18, 2008

A little hug goes a long way.

After a fight or conflict, a hug can mean all the difference.

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.

The study was published this summer in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

I think we could all learn a thing or two from the chimps!

11 comments:

Crysto said...

wow! how interesting! and sooo adorable!!!

blackfeatherfarm said...

As usual the animals are showing us how we should act !

ChatonDesigns said...

I agree! Humans could learn a lot from the animal world. I adore monkeys/apes...and those pictures are beautiful >^.^<

Janice Austin said...

What a lovely article. May your day be filled with hugs!

Sheryl Karas said...

Wonderful post! Learning about monkey behavior as it relates to sensitivity was very important to me at a particular time in my development. We can learn a lot about humans by studying our primate cousins.

Giftbearer said...

Animals' capacity for love is limitless!

kim* said...

nice little entry :)

Leslie said...

Aww, this was so interesting. They are so cute! Aww!

The Ebon Swan said...

Evolutionary Psych, I'm hooked already. :D If a hug works for a chimp and are the favored things of small children, we adults could stand to revisit that.

capitolagirl said...

Awww, that picture is sweet. And your post is great reminder from the Animal Kingdom.

TJ said...

I completely agree that a hug really helps! We can learn so much from animal behavior!