Abstract # 13340 Event # 30:

Scheduled for Thursday, August 22, 2019 11:30 AM-11:45 AM: (Room 325) Oral Presentation


EARLY LEARNING IN THE COMMON MARMOSET (CALLITHRIX JACCHUS): EFFECT OF SEX AND FAMILY INTERACTIONS ON COGNITIVE DEVELOPMENT

H. Ash, R. Colman, T. Ziegler and K. Solonika
Wisconsin National Primate Research Centre, University of Wisconsin, 1220 Capitol Court, Madison, WI 53715, USA
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     Early family life can have a major impact on development, with play thought to be particularly important in helping primates develop their sophisticated cognitive abilities. Other family interactions, including parenting style, could also play a part. We followed 22 laboratory-housed marmosets (11 male, 11 female) from infancy to adolescence. At 3-4 months, the marmosets were trained to reliably touch a rewarded stimulus. At 5-6 months, behavior was observed within the natal group (2x15 min/week). At 9-10 months, the marmosets were given a visual discrimination task to assess learning ability. Mann Whitney U tests found no sex differences in learning at 3 and 9 months, nor in any behavior at 5 months. Infants from larger families tended to have more errors at 3 months than infants from smaller families (p=0.051), although there was no family size effect at 9 months. A significant negative relationship was found between duration inactive and number of errors at 3 months (p=0.04), suggesting infants that were less inactive had more errors. However, there was a significant negative relationship between duration playing and number of errors at 9 months (p=0.01), suggesting those that played more in infancy had fewer errors in the later visual discrimination task. Positive family interactions, particularly play, may therefore be important in cognitive development, with this study shedding light on learning in much younger marmosets than previously studied.