Abstract # 13417 Poster # 146:

Scheduled for Friday, August 23, 2019 06:00 PM-08:00 PM: (Alumni Lounge) Poster Presentation


R. MacAllister, L. M. Houser and K. Coleman
Oregon National Primate Res. Ctr., 505 NW 185th Ave, Beaverton, OR 97006, USA
     It is well established that individuals in a population differ with respect to temperament. Temperament has been associated with positive reinforcement training (PRT) success in rhesus and cynomolgus macaques. In those studies, shy individuals have been found to be harder to train with PRT compared to bolder individuals. However, whether or not this relationship holds with other kinds of training is still unknown. In this study, we examined whether temperament correlated with desensitization to daily subcutaneous injections in rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta). We assessed temperament in 29 male monkeys (aged 2.5-4 years). Monkeys then underwent desensitization training to daily subcutaneous injections for 4 months. Desensitization is a component of PRT in which a negative stimulus (injection) is paired with a positive event (e.g., treat). Trainers rated each monkey’s response to the training as calm or fearful. Most monkeys (76%) were rated as being calm by the fourth month of training. Surprisingly, calm animals spent more time in the back of the cage during the temperament assessment (p=0.05) and tended to be more inhibited (p=0.15) than fearful animals. While preliminary, these results suggest that animals rated as bold or exploratory on a standard temperament test may be more challenging to desensitize to daily injections than shyer individuals.