Primate Conflict and Its Relation to Human Forgiveness

Authored by: Frans B. M. de Waal , Jennifer J. Pokorny

Handbook of Forgiveness

Print publication date:  June  2005
Online publication date:  December  2007

Print ISBN: 9780415949491
eBook ISBN: 9780203955673
Adobe ISBN: 9781135410889


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Research on nonhuman primates has produced compelling evidence for so-called reconciliation and consolation, that is, postconflict contacts that serve to repair social relationships and comfort distressed individuals, such as victims of aggression. Although it is difficult and perhaps impossible to demonstrate forgiveness explicitly among nonhuman primates, inferences can be drawn from the behavior these animals use to repair social damage. Their behavior can be seen as an evolutionary precursor to conflict resolution and forgiveness in human societies.

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