Abstract # 180:

Scheduled for Saturday, June 23, 2007 10:00 AM-10:15 AM: Session 16 (North Main Hall E) Symposium

Individual Differences in Temperament and Behavioral Management Practices

K. Coleman
Oregon National Primate Research Center, 505 NW 185th Ave., Beaverton, OR 97006, USA
     Current behavioral management practices have been aided by the application of various scientific theories. The study of temperament or personality constructs is one area that can help guide behavioral management decisions for captive primates. While it is known that monkeys and other primates have distinct personalities, management plans do not always take these individual differences into account. Rather, what is good for one individual is often assumed to be good for all, a strategy that does not always work for all animals. An individual’s temperament influences how it copes with novel or stressful situations, and therefore may influence how it reacts to various management practices. For example, we found that it was harder to train shy rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta) to touch a target on the outside of their cage (a relatively simple task) than bold monkeys (Coleman et al., 2005). In a separate study (Coleman & McMillan, 2006), we found a correlation between temperament and pairing success in female rhesus macaques. Incompatible monkeys (i.e., individuals that that could not be successfully paired with another adult female) tended to be more exploratory than monkeys that were successfully paired. Knowing the temperament of individuals can help to give insight into how they will respond to various management decisions. Therefore, enrichment plans and management practices should account for these individual differences whenever feasible.