Within-group behavioural consequences of between-group conflict: a prospective review

Andy Radford, Bonaventura Majolo, Filippo Aureli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)
181 Downloads (Pure)


Conflict is rife in group-living species and exerts a powerful selective force. Group members face a variety of threats from extra-group conspecifics, from individuals looking for reproductive opportunities to rival groups seeking resources. Theory predicts that such between-group conflict should influence within-group behaviour. However, compared to the extensive literature on the consequences of within-group conflict, relatively little research has considered the behavioural impacts of between group conflict. We give an overview of why between-group conflict is expected to influence subsequent behaviour among group members. We then use what is known about the consequences of within-group conflict to generate testable predictions about how between-group conflict might affect within-group behaviour in the aftermath. We consider the types of behaviour that could change and how the role of different group members in the conflict can exert an influence. Furthermore, we discuss how conflict characteristics and outcome, group size, social structure, and within-group relationship quality might modulate post-conflict behavioural changes. Finally, we propose the need for consistent definitions, a broader range of examined behaviours and taxa, individual focused data collection, complementary observational and experimental approaches, and a consideration of lasting effects if we are to understand fully the significant influence of between-group conflict on social behaviour.
Original languageEnglish
Article number20161567
Number of pages10
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Issue number1843
Early online date30 Nov 2016
Publication statusPublished - 30 Nov 2016


  • conflict
  • social evolution
  • behavioural consequences
  • group living
  • aggression

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