Abstract # 128:

Scheduled for Friday, June 22, 2007 05:00 PM-07:00 PM: Session 14 (South Main Hall) Poster Presentation

Abnormal Behavior as a Factor of Compliance with Positive Reinforcement Training for Singly-housed Adult Rhesus Macaques (Macaca mulatta)

C. Griffis1, M. A. Bloomsmith1, K. C. Baker2, K. A. Neu1, 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
     Positive reinforcement training is an important element of behavioral management programs for nonhuman primates. However, more empirical information is needed to determine whether animals identified for intervention will engage in such training, affecting the amount of personnel time and other resources allocated to this type of intervention. This study was designed to determine whether subjects that exhibit abnormal behavior, including self-injurious, would participate during training sessions, substantiated by their level of compliance with training commands. Subjects included 16 male and 16 female rhesus macaques (mean age 6.2±2.01 [SD] years), and 562 training events were analyzed. Subjects underwent 40 minutes of training per week divided into 2 or 3 sessions. Compliance was operationalized as the percentage of times the subject responded correctly to a command. Prevalence of abnormal behavior, which was not affected by age or sex [ANOVA, a=0.05), was obtained from 160 hours of observational, pre-training data. Based on those data, animals were categorized as having a “high occurrence” (>25%, n=10, AVG=34.2%) or “low occurrence” (<25%, n=22, AVG=15.3%) of abnormal behavior [t-test, a=0.01]. Subjects in the high occurrence group complied significantly more with commands than those in the low occurrence group [Wilcoxon Signed Rank Test, a=0.01]. The results demonstrate that positive reinforcement training can be considered a viable behavioral management tool for rhesus macaques exhibiting high levels of abnormal behavior.