Abstract # 72:

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

Behavioral Differences Observed in Mother and Infant Rhesus Macaques (Macaca mulatta) During Pre-separation and Following Reunion as a Function of Separation Conditions

S. R. Halcrow1, M. L. Schwandt1, S. J. Suomi2 and C. S. Barr1
1NIH/NIAAA, Laboratory of Clinical Studies, Primate Unit,, Poolesville, MD 20837, USA, 2Laboratory of Comparative Ethology, NICHD, NIH
     Mother-infant separation is known to influence maternal and infant behavioral responding. The goal of this study was to investigate differences in pre-separation and reunion behavior of mother and infant rhesus macaques as a function of 2 separation conditions. Prior to separation, infants (N=132) were raised with their mothers in groups comprised of 2 adult males and 8-14 adult females and their infants. During separation, 1 set of infants remained in the group (ISG, n=79) while mothers were removed. In another paradigm, infants and mothers were removed from the group (NISG, n=53) and individually housed. Following 4 days of separation, mothers and infants were reunited for 3 days, and this paradigm was repeated 4 times. Frequency of mother-infant behavior was coded during 5 minute intervals. Data were analyzed using repeated measures ANOVA [a=0.05], with separation condition as a between subjects variable. Maternal rejection significantly increased during reunion for both groups, whereas grooming behavior by mother between groups did not vary as a result of separation. During reunion, ISG infants interacted less with other members relative to baseline, whereas NISG infants increased their social interaction. Exploratory behavior for both groups significantly decreased during reunion. Although results differ depending on conditions of maternal separation, these data show that separation alters normative social interaction in mothers and infants.