Abstract # 1989 Poster # 33:

Scheduled for Thursday, August 17, 2006 09:30 AM-12:00 PM: Session 3 (Regency East #3) Poster Presentation

Ruppenthal Symposium, Gadgets from the Past: Where Are They Now? Nuclear Family Caging

M. K. Unkefer1,2
1NIH-NICHD-LCE NIH Animal Center, P.O. Box 529, Poolesville, MD 20837, USA, 2Northern Virginia Community College, Loudoun Campus
     The nuclear family caging system was originally developed in an attempt to create a nonhuman primate model of human family dynamics. Four “family units” consisting of mother, father, and infant live in separate cages surrounding a central play cage filled with novel toys and other stimuli. While the parents are restricted to their family’s cage, the infants are free to enter the play area and any other family’s cage through infant sized doors. This type of housing produced parents where the fathers spend more time parenting the offspring than in a more typical living situation. In addition, offspring develop more sophisticated social skills than typical laboratory housed infants and are more exploratory. Some current adaptations of the nuclear family caging idea include habitats that seek to normalize infants in mother-only rearing conditions.