Abstract # 2293 Poster # 50:

Scheduled for Thursday, June 21, 2007 05:00 PM-07:00 PM: Session 7 (South Main Hall) Poster Presentation

The Effects of Positive Reinforcement Training on Abnormal Behavior in Singly-Housed Adult Rhesus Macaques (Macaca mulatta)

C. Griffis1, K. C. Baker2, M. A. Bloomsmith1, K. A. Neu1, M. A. Maloney2, M. Martinez3 and J. C. Griffis4
1Yerkes National Primate Research Center, Division of Animal Resources, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia 30322, USA, 2Tulane National Primate Research Center, 3The University of Texas, Section of Neurobiology, 4Parsec Group
     This study was designed to determine whether positive reinforcement training would alleviate abnormal behavior in rhesus macaques. Subjects included 22 males and 22 females (34 from Yerkes National Primate Research Center, 10 from Tulane National Primate Research Center). A baseline condition was compared to two experimental conditions in which subjects received 6 minutes per week and either 20 or 40 minutes per week of positive reinforcement training. Behavioral data consisted of 30-minute focal observations collected via videotaping. A total of 640 hours of data were collected and coded using instantaneous sampling with a 15-second inter-sample interval. Incidences of abnormal behavior were tabulated for each phase. Analysis of the results [Kruskal-Wallis, a=0.05] when compared to the baseline, were not found to be statistically significant. However, subjects were then sub-categorized by “high occurrence” (>25%, n=11, mean=35.8%) or “low occurrence” (<25%, n=33, mean=14.2%), of abnormal behavior in the baseline data. Results were, once again, compared by phase and by category. A statistically significant reduction [repeated measures ANOVA, a=0.05] in abnormal behavior was found within the “high occurrence” sub-group for the 40 minute training phase [post hoc t-tests, a=0.01] when compared to the baseline. The results indicate that extended sessions of positive reinforcement training can be beneficial to singly-housed rhesus macaques with a high occurrence of abnormal behavior.