Abstract # 2038 Poster # 189:

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

The use of positive reinforcement training in chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) for voluntary presentation for IM injections

J. L. Russell1, J. P. Taglialatela1 and W. D. Hopkins1,2
1Yerkes National Primate Research Center, 954 Gatewood Rd., Atlanta, GA 30329, USA, 2Berry College
     Positive reinforcement has been used to gain the cooperation of captive primates for research and management needs. In this study, ten chimpanzees included in a research protocol involving repeated positron emission tomography (PET) scans are being trained to present for intramuscular injections. Clicker training is used to teach subjects to present their leg and accept an injection from a needle. Subjects reached criterion for presenting for a touch from a needle in 7 to 44 training sessions (Mean=16.20, s.d.=10.62). The six chimpanzees who have successfully completed their initial scan participated in 7 to 89 training sessions (Mean=48.33, s.d.=33.25) prior to the scan. In the five subjects in which training was continued following the initial scan, a Wilcoxon Sign Rank Test revealed no significant relation between the number of sessions initially required for the chimpanzee to present for a needle and the number of sessions needed to perform the same behavior following the anesthetic event, Z=-0.816, p=0.414. However, four of five subjects required fewer sessions to present for a sharp post-scan versus initial training. Furthermore, three subjects presented for a sharp in the first post-scan training session demonstrating complete maintenance of performance despite an anesthetic event. These results suggest that through the use of positive reinforcement, chimpanzees can be quickly and reliably trained to present for injections as part of a research protocol requiring multiple accesses.