Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Dominance style is a key predictor of vocal use and evolution across nonhuman primates

Kavanagh, Eithne; Street, Sally E.; Angwela, Felix O.; Bergman, Thore J.; Blaszczyk, Maryjka B.; Bolt, Laura M.; Briseño-Jaramillo, Margarita; Brown, Michelle; Chen-Kraus, Chloe; Clay, Zanna; Coye, Camille; Thompson, Melissa Emery; Estrada, Alejandro; Fichtel, Claudia; Fruth, Barbara; Gamba, Marco; Giacoma, Cristina; Graham, Kirsty E.; Green, Samantha; Grueter, Cyril C.; Gupta, Shreejata; Gustison, Morgan L.; Hagberg, Lindsey; Hedwig, Daniela; Jack, Katharine M.; Kappeler, Peter M.; King-Bailey, Gillian; Kuběnová, Barbora; Lemasson, Alban; Inglis, David MacGregor; Machanda, Zarin; MacIntosh, Andrew; Majolo, Bonaventura; Marshall, Sophie; Mercier, Stephanie; Micheletta, Jérôme; Muller, Martin; Notman, Hugh; Ouattara, Karim; Ostner, Julia; Pavelka, Mary S.M.; Peckre, Louise R.; Petersdorf, Megan; Quintero, Fredy; Ramos-Fernández, Gabriel; Robbins, Martha M.; Salmi, Roberta; Schamberg, Isaac; Schoof, Valérie A.M.; Schülke, Oliver; Semple, Stuart; Silk, Joan B.; Sosa-Lopéz, J. Roberto; Tor...

Dominance style is a key predictor of vocal use and evolution across nonhuman primates Thumbnail


Eithne Kavanagh

Felix O. Angwela

Thore J. Bergman

Maryjka B. Blaszczyk

Laura M. Bolt

Margarita Briseño-Jaramillo

Michelle Brown

Chloe Chen-Kraus

Camille Coye

Melissa Emery Thompson

Alejandro Estrada

Claudia Fichtel

Barbara Fruth

Marco Gamba

Cristina Giacoma

Kirsty E. Graham

Samantha Green

Cyril C. Grueter

Shreejata Gupta

Morgan L. Gustison

Lindsey Hagberg

Daniela Hedwig

Katharine M. Jack

Peter M. Kappeler

Gillian King-Bailey

Barbora Kuběnová

Alban Lemasson

David MacGregor Inglis

Zarin Machanda

Andrew MacIntosh

Bonaventura Majolo

Sophie Marshall

Stephanie Mercier

Jérôme Micheletta

Martin Muller

Hugh Notman

Karim Ouattara

Julia Ostner

Mary S.M. Pavelka

Louise R. Peckre

Megan Petersdorf

Fredy Quintero

Gabriel Ramos-Fernández

Martha M. Robbins

Roberta Salmi

Isaac Schamberg

Valérie A.M. Schoof

Oliver Schülke

Stuart Semple

Joan B. Silk

J. Roberto Sosa-Lopéz

Valeria Torti

Daria Valente

Raffaella Ventura

Erica van de Waal

Anna H. Weyher

Claudia Wilke

Richard Wrangham

Christopher Young

Anna Zanoli

Klaus Zuberbühler

Adriano R. Lameira

Katie Slocombe


Animal communication has long been thought to be subject to pressures and constraints associated with social relationships. However, our understanding of how the nature and quality of social relationships relates to the use and evolution of communication is limited by a lack of directly comparable methods across multiple levels of analysis. Here, we analysed observational data from 111 wild groups belonging to 26 non-human primate species, to test how vocal communication relates to dominance style (the strictness with which a dominance hierarchy is enforced, ranging from ‘despotic’ to ‘tolerant’). At the individual-level, we found that dominant individuals who were more tolerant vocalized at a higher rate than their despotic counterparts. This indicates that tolerance within a relationship may place pressure on the dominant partner to communicate more during social interactions. At the species-level, however, despotic species exhibited a larger repertoire of hierarchy-related vocalizations than their tolerant counterparts. Findings suggest primate signals are used and evolve in tandem with the nature of interactions that characterize individuals' social relationships.


Kavanagh, E., Street, S. E., Angwela, F. O., Bergman, T. J., Blaszczyk, M. B., Bolt, L. M., …Slocombe, K. (2021). Dominance style is a key predictor of vocal use and evolution across nonhuman primates. Royal Society Open Science, 8(7), Article 210873.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jul 8, 2021
Online Publication Date Jul 28, 2021
Publication Date 2021-07
Deposit Date Oct 28, 2021
Publicly Available Date Nov 3, 2021
Journal Royal Society Open Science
Publisher The Royal Society
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 8
Issue 7
Article Number 210873


Published Journal Article (716 Kb)

Publisher Licence URL

Copyright Statement
&copy; 2021 The Authors.<br /> Published by the Royal Society under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, provided the original author and source are credited.

You might also like

Downloadable Citations