Simulating social network evolution in cooperatively breeding animals using agent-based models

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The Ohio State University

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Individuals of a social group can only benefit from group living if the group structure is maintained and conflicts are managed. Dominance hierarchies can help groups to manage conflict by reducing the number of aggressive encounters. This research explores the effects of winner-loser effect, search radius and number of territories on the connectedness, cohesion and linearity of the network structure. Results indicates that presence of winner-loser effect and long search radius allow individuals to have more interactions with other members of the group, forming strong dominance hierarchies with high connectedness, high cohesion and a more linear hierarchy. Number of territories was shown to have no significant effect on the network structure possibly due to the failure of the territory to function as focal location for interaction. The study of the emergence of network structure can provide insights to the evolution of social groups.



Social network, dominance, hierarchy, agent-based models, winner-loser effect