Abstract # 2313 Poster # 139:

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

Lateral Bias in Nursing Infant Bonnet Macaques (Macaca radiata)

M. W. Blevins1, M. L. Laudenslager2 and A. J. Bennett1
1Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, Department of Pediatrics, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC 27157, USA, 2Department of Psychiatry, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center
     Studies of behavioral asymmetries in early mother-infant interactions are important to the evaluation of factors that may influence the emergence of lateral bias in developing animals. Some of these studies include maternal cradling side preference and infant nipple side preference. Evidence of significant bias in nipple preference during nursing has been reported for humans, chimpanzees, rhesus macaques, and other primates; however, laterality in nursing has not been evaluated in bonnet macaques. In this study, nipple preference was recorded for 13 bonnet macaques ranging in age from 1-week to 17-months old at the onset of observations. Mother-infant dyads were scan-sampled at the beginning of an observation session and left or right nipple attachment recorded. Lateral bias was evaluated by calculating a laterality index [LI; (Right-Left)/Total]. Preliminary results showed seven infants with a LI indicating right bias (M=1.0, SD±0), three infants with LI indicated a leftward bias (M=-0.89, SD±0.19), one that marginally right biased (LI 0.43), and two that were ambiguous in their nipple preference (LI -0.14, -0.33). To our knowledge, these preliminary data provide the first evidence of lateral bias in nursing in bonnet macaques. The data will provide an important foundation for subsequent study to describe both the relationship between hand preference and nursing, as well as between maternal and offspring lateral bias. Supported by NIAAA grants AA13995 (AJB), AA011997 (AJB), and AA013973 (MLL).