Abstract # 13124 Event # 141:

Scheduled for Friday, August 10, 2018 03:00 PM-03:15 PM: (Chula Vista ) Oral Presentation


ASSESSING FOOD PREFERENCE AND REINFORCER EFFECTIVENESS IN LABORATORY-HOUSED CYNOMOLGUS MACAQUES (MACACA FASCICULARIS): A REFINEMENT FOR POSITIVE REINFORCEMENT TRAINING

A. Rehrig1, L. DiVincenti2, D. Napolitano3 and D. McAdam1
1University of Rochester, 601 Elmwood Avenue Box 674, Rochester, NY 14642, USA, 2Seneca Park Zoo, 3Hillside Children's Center
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     Preference assessments systematically and objectively identify items that are preferred and could serve as reinforcers for positive reinforcement training (PRT). This study used a multiple stimulus without replacement (MSWO) preference assessment to determine preference hierarchies of six food items with Cynomolgus macaques (N = 14; 11 males and 3 females). Additionally, seven macaques completed concurrent-schedule reinforcer evaluations to confirm the preferred items efficacy as reinforcement. Average food ratings showed the macaques had a preference for yogurt covered treats (74.13 ± 21.55) followed by grapes (58.74 ± 20.01), dried pineapple (33.13 ± 12.96), banana chips (25.73 ± 11.72), dried apricots (20.35 ± 5.08), and peanuts (19.99 ± 10.69). Individual preferences were confirmed by the reinforcer evaluations in which the primates were more likely to perform a task for their most preferred item (average engagement score > 80%) versus the least preferred or control condition. When choice for all food items was examined over a month there was a great deal of instability in preference as shown by less than significant Kendall’s tau correlation coefficients (p > .05). However, when stability of the most preferred item alone was examined, the item chosen first remained consistent for most of the macaques. These results suggest the MSWO is an effective method to identify preferred food items and can be used to inform reinforcement choices in PRT programs.