Abstract # 2435 Poster # 118:

Scheduled for Friday, June 20, 2008 05:00 PM-07:00 PM: Session 12 (Ball Rooms A and B) Poster Presentation


EARLY LIFE STRESS AND TEMPERMENT PROVIDE INDICATORS OF NOVELTY SEEKING BEHAVIOR IN CHIMPANZEES (Pan troglodytes)

J. A. Schaeffer1, J. L. Russell1 and W. D. Hopkins1,2
1Yerkes National Primate Research Center, Division of Psychobiology, Atlanta, GA 30322, USA, 2Agnes Scott College
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     Many factors influence response to novel stimuli in primates, including early exposure to stress and temperament. Whether subjective ratings of temperament are related to individual differences in approach-avoidance remains a topic of interest among primatologists. Here we measured the latency to touch and amount of time interacting with two objects in a sample of 73 chimpanzees (Age range = 6 to 54 years) and correlated these behavioral measures with personality ratings as assessed by the Chimpanzee Personality Questionnaire (CPQ). In addition, we examined the influence of age, rearing and sex on the approach-avoidance behaviors. Results indicated that older subjects took longer to approach [r(71)=0.44, p<0.05] and spent less time [r(71)=-0.27, p<0.05] interacting with the objects. No significant sex or rearing effects were found for latency to touch or the amount of time interacting with the objects. For the CPQ and approach-avoidance data, males rated as more dominant interacted significantly longer with the novel stimuli [r(71)=0.60, p<0.01] whereas females rated higher on the extraversion factor had lower latencies to touch the objects [r(71)=-0.48, p<0.01]. These results indicate that, unlike in rhesus monkeys, nursery rearing does not significantly influence novelty seeking behaviors as adults. Furthermore, the results suggest that subjective ratings of temperament correlate with aspects of approach-avoidance behavior in chimpanzees.