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  • Publication
    Accès libre
    Evidence of joint commitment in great apes' natural joint actions.
    (2021-12-01T00:00:00Z) ; ; ; ;
    Rossano, Federico
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    Pajot, Aude
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    Guéry, Jean-Pascal
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    Human joint action seems special, as it is grounded in joint commitment-a sense of mutual obligation participants feel towards each other. Comparative research with humans and non-human great apes has typically investigated joint commitment by experimentally interrupting joint actions to study subjects' resumption strategies. However, such experimental interruptions are human-induced, and thus the question remains of how great apes naturally handle interruptions. Here, we focus on naturally occurring interruptions of joint actions, grooming and play, in bonobos and chimpanzees. Similar to humans, both species frequently resumed interrupted joint actions (and the previous behaviours, like grooming the same body part region or playing the same play type) with their previous partners and at the previous location. Yet, the probability of resumption attempts was unaffected by social bonds or rank. Our data suggest that great apes experience something akin to joint commitment, for which we discuss possible evolutionary origins.
  • Publication
    Accès libre
    Assessing joint commitment as a process in great apes.
    (2021-08-20T00:00:00Z) ; ; ; ; ;
    Pajot, Aude
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    Perrenoud, Laura
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    Guéry, Jean-Pascal
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    Rossano, Federico
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    Many social animals interact jointly, but only humans experience a specific sense of obligation toward their co-participants, a . However, joint commitment is not only a mental state but also a that reveals itself in the coordination efforts deployed during entry and exit phases of joint action. Here, we investigated the presence and duration of such phases in  = 1,242 natural play and grooming interactions of captive chimpanzees and bonobos. The apes frequently exchanged mutual gaze and communicative signals prior to and after engaging in joint activities with conspecifics, demonstrating entry and exit phases comparable to those of human joint activities. Although rank effects were less clear, phases in bonobos were more moderated by friendship compared to phases in chimpanzees, suggesting bonobos were more likely to reflect patterns analogous to human "face management". This suggests that joint commitment as process was already present in our last common ancestor with .
  • Publication
    Accès libre
  • Publication
    Accès libre
    Understanding togetherness : joint action capacities in great apes
    (Neuchâtel, 2020)
    Les animaux sociaux coopèrent de multiples façons dans le but d’atteindre un objectif commun, par exemple en remplissant des rôles complémentaires et réciproques, en agissant de façon pro-sociale, et en adaptant leurs propres comportements à ceux de leurs partenaires. Malgré cela, une théorie influente suggère que les interactions coopératives des animaux non-humains, notamment les grands singes, sont de nature égoïste dans la mesure où les participants ne possèdent pas les capacités cognitives nécessaires pour partager leurs intentions et s’investir conjointement dans un objectif commun. En d’autres mots, les animaux ne sembleraient pas capables de s’engager dans une action commune par le biais d’un sentiment d’intentionnalité partagée. Cependant, cette théorie pose plusieurs problèmes. D’une part, elle présuppose la possession d’un certain nombre de capacités cognitives très sophistiquées (mais pas forcément nécessaires à la réalisation d’une entreprise commune). D’autre part, cette théorie s’appuie sur les résultats d’études comparatives menées en laboratoire avec des chimpanzés captifs et des enfants humains. Ces études manquent ainsi de pertinence écologique et d’équité inter-espèce au niveau des protocoles expérimentaux. De plus, elles ont été réalisées principalement avec des chimpanzés, connus pour être l’espèce de grands singes la plus compétitive. Des études récentes ont cependant apporté de nouvelles connaissances sur la coordination d’actions jointes chez les grands singes qui, associées aux raisons mentionnées ci-dessus, nous poussent à remettent en question cette théorie prédominante.
    Ma thèse avait deux objectifs principaux – le premier de nature théorique et le second de nature empirique. L’objectif théorique était de re-conceptualiser la théorie sur l’intentionnalité partagée. Dans ce but, j’ai développé un nouveau cadre théorique pour l’étude de la coordination d’actions jointes, inspiré par la recherche sur les interactions humaines, et qui permet d’étudier, chez toutes les espèces animales, comment deux participants co-créent, co-maintiennent et corompent un état d’investissement commun au cours des différentes phases d’une action jointe (entrée, principale et sortie). Lors du déroulement d’actions jointes, les participants sont constamment concernés par la nécessité de préserver la « face » – une forme de manifestation publique d’estime de soi. J’ai suggéré que les comportements et les signaux de communication déployés par les participants pour coordonner les actions jointes représentaient de bons indicateurs pour déterminer la présence d’une certaine responsabilité envers un investissement commun d’une part, et d’une certaine sensibilité envers la nécessité de préserver « face » de chacun, d’autre part.
    Mon second objectif était d’appliquer de manière empirique ce cadre théorique aux interactions sociales des grands singes (chimpanzés et bonobos), plus précisément aux interactions de toilettage et de jeu social.
    Les résultats de ma thèse indiquent que les bonobos et les chimpanzés présentent plusieurs des comportements révélateurs d’une responsabilité envers un investissement commun, mais aussi d’une certaine forme de gestion de la « face». Ces résultats suggèrent ainsi que ces deux espèces de grands singes sont capables d’atteindre un état d’intentionnalité partagée au travers du processus de coordination d’actions jointes. Par exemple, elles présentent des phases d’entrée et de sortie identifiables (i.e., les partenaires produisent des efforts de communication pour débuter, ou conclure, une interaction) lorsqu’ils se toilettent ou jouent, et s’efforcent de réinstaurer l’activité à la suite d’une interruption. De plus, mes résultats montrent que le type de communication employé par les bonobos et les chimpanzés pour coordonner les différentes phases d’une action jointe varie en fonction des liens sociaux qu’ils entretiennent avec leur partenaire, c’est-à-dire leur liens d’affinité et leur différence hiérarchique. Ceci fait écho aux modèles théoriques de gestion de la « face» chez les humains.
    Pris ensemble, les résultats de ma thèse posent la question du rôle de la compréhension d’un investissement commun et de la gestion de la face dans l’évolution des primates. J’espère que mes conclusions renforceront l’idée que les caractères uniques à l’Homme ont probablement été façonnés à partir de racines ancestrales dans l’échelle phylogénétique des primates, et qu’elles relanceront le débat sur l’exclusivité humaine dans la capacité à créer un sentiment d’intentionnalité partagée.
    Abstract Social animals cooperate in manifold ways towards a common outcome, for example by performing complementary and reciprocal roles, acting pro-socially, and adjusting their own actions in concert with those of their partners. Despite this, researchers have claimed that the cooperative interactions of non-human animal species –notably apes- remain egoistic in nature, insofar that the participants lack the cognitive capacity to share intentions for the establishment of a joint commitment toward a shared goal. Animals supposedly fail to engage in joint action via shared intentionality.
    This theory incurs several problems, however. It assumes a suite of high-level cognitive capacities, which may not be necessary for joint action coordination. Moreover, the evidence on which it is predominantly built relies on comparative laboratory experiments between captive apes and human children, which lack ecological relevance and comparability of cross-species designs, and mostly involve mostly chimpanzees, known to be the most competitive of all apes. Recent evidence furthermore provides new insights into joint action coordination in apes, warranting the need for revisiting the theory.
    In that regard, my thesis comprised two major goals– the first is of theoretical and the second of empirical nature. My first goal was to address the aforementioned shortcomings by reconceptualizing the theory of shared intentionality theoretically. I did so by implementing an alternative framework, inspired by human joint action research, allowing for the study of how two participants co-create, co-maintain, and co-dissolve a state of joint commitment in so-called joint action phases of entry, main body and exit. In addition, when humans engage in joint action, the participants are constantly concerned with face management – i.e., using politeness to mitigate face threatening acts, with face being defined as a form of publicly manifest self-esteem. The behaviors and communicative signals used by participants in the joint action phases serve as yardsticks for their sensitivity to joint commitment and face management. The proposed framework thus allows for studying those behavioral prerequisites minimally required to achieve a higher-level state of shared intentionality through the process of joint action coordination.
    My second goal was to empirically apply the framework to the study of great apes’ (here chimpanzees and bonobos) natural interactions, more specifically social and social grooming and play. My findings revealed that both chimpanzees and bonobos exhibit recognizable entry and exit phases in grooming and play interactions, and display recognizable reengagement attempts after interruptions of social activities. Additionally, the communication used by bonobos during joint action phases depended on partner-specific social attributes such as social bond and rank differences. These findings suggest that apes indeed exhibit several of the behavioral evidence for joint commitment understanding and face management, thus indicating that apes are capable of collaboratively constructing a state of shared intentionality through the process of joint action coordination. My findings raise questions about the role of joint commitment and face management in primate evolution, and stress the idea that human uniqueness has been shaped by ancestral primate roots. I hope my thesis will revive the debate on whether shared intentionality constitutes a uniquely human trait.
  • Publication
    Accès libre
    How apes get into and out of joint actions: Shared intentionality as an interactional achievement
    (2020) ; ;
    Guéry, Jean-Pascal
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    Rossano, Federico
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    Compared to other animals, humans appear to have a special motivation to share experiences and mental states with others (Clark, 2006; Grice, 1975), which enables them to enter a condition of ‘we’ or shared intentionality (Tomasello & Carpenter, 2005). Shared intentionality has been suggested to be an evolutionary response to unique problems faced in complex joint action coordination (Levinson, 2006; Tomasello, Carpenter, Call, Behne, & Moll, 2005) and to be unique to humans (Tomasello, 2014). The theoretical and empirical bases for this claim, however, present several issues and inconsistencies. Here, we suggest that shared intentionality can be approached as an interactional achievement, and that by studying how our closest relatives, the great apes, coordinate joint action with conspecifics, we might demonstrate some correlate abilities of shared intentionality, such as the appreciation of joint commitment. We provide seven examples from bonobo joint activities to illustrate our framework.
  • Publication
    Accès libre
    Social play as joint action: A framework to study the evolution of shared intentionality as an interactional achievement.
    (2017-12-01T00:00:00Z) ; ;
    Rossano, Federico
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    Social play has a complex, cooperative nature that requires substantial coordination. This has led researchers to use social games to study cognitive abilities like shared intentionality, the skill and motivation to share goals and intentions with others during joint action. We expand this proposal by considering play as a joint action and examining how shared intentionality is achieved during human joint action. We describe how humans get into, conduct, and get out of joint actions together in an orderly way, thereby constructing the state of "togetherness" characteristic of shared intentionality. These processes play out as three main phases, the opening (where participants are ratified and joint commitments are established), the main body (where progress, ongoing commitments, and possible role reversals are coordinated), and the closing (where the intention to terminate the action is coordinated and where participants take leave of each other). We use this process in humans as a framework for examining how various animal species get into, maintain, and get out of play bouts. This comparative approach constitutes an alternative measure of those species' possession of shared intentionality. Using this framework, we review the play literature on human children and different social species of mammals and birds in search of behavioral markers of shared intentionality in the coordination of play bouts. We discuss how our approach could shed light on the evolution of the special human motivation to cooperate and share psychological states with others.