Early life adversity has long-term effects on sociality and interaction style in female baboons

Sam K. Patterson, Shirley C. Strum, Joan B. Silk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Social bonds enhance fitness in many group-living animals, generating interest in the processes that create individual variation in sociality. Previous work on female baboons shows that early life adversity and temperament both influence social connectedness in adulthood. Early life adversity might shape sociality by reducing ability to invest in social relationships or through effects on attractiveness as a social partner. We examine how females' early life adversity predicts sociality and temperament in wild olive baboons, and evaluate whether temperament mediates the relationship between early life adversity and sociality. We use behavioural data on 31 females to quantify sociality. We measure interaction style as the tendency to produce grunts (signals of benign intent) in contexts in which the vocalization does not produce immediate benefits to the actor. Early life adversity was negatively correlated with overall sociality, but was a stronger predictor of social behaviours received than behaviours initiated. Females who experienced less early life adversity had more benign interaction styles and benign interaction styles were associated with receiving more social behaviours. Interaction style may partially mediate the association between early life adversity and sociality. These analyses add to our growing understanding of the processes connecting early life experiences to adult sociality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number20212244
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Issue number1968
StatePublished - 2022


  • Papio anubis
  • development
  • early life adversity
  • sociality
  • temperament

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Immunology and Microbiology
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Environmental Science
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences


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