Consolation in the aftermath of violent public assaults : An interaction ethological study

Liebst, Lasse Suonperä and Philpot, Richard and Ejbye-Ernst, Peter and Bernasco, Wim and Heinskou, Marie Bruvik and Verbeek, Peter and Levine, Mark and Lindegaard, Marie Rosenkrantz (2024) Consolation in the aftermath of violent public assaults : An interaction ethological study. Culture and Evolution, 20 (1). 99–110. ISSN 2939-7375

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AbstractAnimal ethologists suggest that non-human primates console victims of aggression in a manner similar to humans. However, the empirical basis for this cross-species comparison is fragile, given that few studies have examined consolation behavior among humans. To address this gap, we revive and apply the underappreciated ethological branch of micro-sociology, which advocates the study of human interactions by applying ethological observation techniques. We thus systematically observed naturally occurring human consolation captured by video surveillance cameras in the aftermath of violent public assaults. Consistent with prior human and non-human primate research, social affiliation promoted consolatory helping. By contrast, we found no main effect of sex. A further exploratory analysis indicated an interaction effect between social affiliation and sex, with female affiliates having the largest probability of providing consolation. We discuss implications for the cross-species study of primate consolation and advocate that micro-sociology should reappraise ethological perspectives.

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Journal Article
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Culture and Evolution
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16 May 2024 11:10
Last Modified:
16 Jul 2024 01:14