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Student Prize Award Abstract
1998 Poster Paper Award


Tina M. Gilbert, David A. Brown, and Sarah T. Boysen.
Department of Psychology, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210.

Capuchin monkeys have been observed to rub plant products on their hair in both the wild and captivity, including anise, citrus, and other pungent substances. The present study examines the effect of differing social situations on anointing behavior, using lemons, anise leaves, garlic, tobacco, onion, and jalopeno. Four animals were tested individually, in separate dyads, or as two dyads with visual access. Each session was fifteen minutes during which the duration of self-anointing, proximity of individuals, and a measure of "vigor" (of anointing, on a scale of 0 to 5), were recorded from videotapes. Results indicated that Dyad 1, consisting of a male and female with a long-term (>6 yr.) relationship, exhibited more anointing behavior, and a significant increase when tested socially, compared to individual testing. Dyad 2, comprised of a newly introduced male and female, exhibited no anointing behavior when tested individually, and significantly less anointing overall, compared with Dyad 1. These results suggest that self-anointing may be affected by the social context and stress. Further studies of self-anointing in capuchins may provide insights into contributions of social learning to its emergence.

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