Dr. Teresa Romero
Although life within groups is thought to be adaptive, it also inevitably leads to competition between group members. It has been argued that in order to mitigate the negative effects of aggression, group-living individuals have evolved behavioral strategies aimed at reducing distress, restoring tolerance and cooperation and repairing relationships disturbed by aggressive conflicts (Aureli & de Waal 2000; Arnold & Aureli 2006). Although most systematic research concerning this topic has dealt with reconciliation (i.e., friendly reunions between former opponents soon after the end of the aggressive confrontation), other conflict management mechanisms involving opponents and third parties may take place (e.g., consolation).
I am interested in the occurrence and function of conflict management mechanisms including reconciliation, consolation and third-party affiliation. In particular, I am interested in the contribution of different variables in the modulation of the expression of post-conflict affiliative behaviors. I am also interested in the factors which potentially influence the development and temporal variation of these behaviors. Both approaches could provide valuable insights into the proximate mechanisms of these behaviors.
In the past, using a Post-Conflict – Matched Control methodology, I examined conflict management mechanisms involving the aggressor in a colony of hamadryas baboons at Madrid Zoo. The study not only investigated the occurrence of the post-conflict behaviors but also their possible functions. I am currently working with Dr. Frans de Waal as a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow in the Living Links Center at Emory University. I am investigating the phenomenon of consolation and other post-conflict affiliative behaviors in chimpanzees.