Abstract # 158:

Scheduled for Friday, August 18, 2006 07:00 PM-09:00 PM: Session 17 (Regency West 1/3 ) Poster Presentation

Predictors of Abnormal Behavior in Rhesus Macaques (Macaca mulatta)

J. Vandeleest1,2, J. Capitanio1,2 and B. McCowan2
1Psychology Department, University of California-Davis, One Shields Avenue, Davis, CA 95616, USA, 2California National Primate Research Center, Davis, CA
     Laboratory housed non-human primates sometimes exhibit abnormal behaviors, and previous research has suggested that rearing history may be risk-factor. We used a retrospective approach to examine the role of rearing history and other demographic factors on development of abnormal behavior among indoor-housed rhesus monkeys. Animals were reared in social groups in outdoor field cages (FC) or corn cribs (CC); indoors with mothers and access to another mother-infant pair (MR), or with a peer in a nursery (NR). Behavioral observations were conducted at least once a month to identify abnormal behaviors. Inclusion criteria for this analysis were participation in CNPRC’s infant Biobehavioral Assessment project and living indoors (all animals), and exhibiting at least one of the following behaviors on at least two occasions: motor stereotypy, self stimulation, or non-injurious self-directed behaviors (n=54). A higher proportion of NR animals and a lower proportion of FC animals than expected developed abnormal behavior (Chi Square(3)=28.24, p<0.001). Within these rearing conditions, sex and age at relocation indoors were not significant predictors of abnormal behavior development. Length of time having lived indoors, however, was significantly related to display of abnormal behavior for both FC (t(135) =5.71, p<0.001) and NR (t(25) =3.66, p=0.001) animals. Our results suggest that time spent in restricted housing, even for animals reared in rich, outdoor social conditions, is a predictor of abnormal behavior.