Abstract # 30:

Scheduled for Thursday, June 19, 2008 05:00 PM-07:00 PM: Session 4 (Ball Rooms A and B) Poster Presentation

The Effects of Human Interaction on Abnormal Behavior In Singly-Housed Adult Rhesus Macaques (MACACA MULATTA)

C. Griffis1, K. C. Baker2, M. Bloomsmith1, K. Neu1, M. Maloney2, M. Martinez3 and J. C. Griffis4
1Yerkes National Primate Research Center, Division of Animal Resources, 954 Gatewood Road, Atlanta, Georgia 30329, USA, 2Tulane National Primate Research Center, 3University of Texas, 4Parsec Group
     This study was designed to determine whether human interaction would alleviate abnormal behavior in singly-housed rhesus macaques. Subjects included 25 males and 31 females at the Yerkes and Tulane National Primate Research Centers. A baseline phase was compared to three experimental phases in which subjects received six minutes per week of unstructured human interaction, six minutes per week of positive reinforcement training, and either 20 or 40 minutes per week of positive reinforcement training. 1,065 hours of behavioral data were coded using instantaneous sampling with a 15-second inter-sample interval. Incidences of abnormal behavior were tabulated for each phase. The results, when compared to the baseline, were not found to be statistically significant [ANOVA; a=0.05, p=0.155]. However, subjects were then sub-categorized by median split (median=21.3%) into “high” (n=28, AVG=34.6%) or “low” (n=28, AVG=12.1%) occurrence rates of abnormal behavior in the baseline data. Results were, once again, compared by phase and by category. A statistically significant reduction in abnormal behavior was found within the “high" occurrence sub-group for all interaction categories when compared to the baseline [ANOVA; a=0.05, p=0.002]. The results indicate that human interaction, structured or unstructured, can be beneficial to singly-housed rhesus macaques who exhibit high levels of abnormal behavior. This finding conflicts with previous findings from our laboratory, and the difference may be due to the influence of early rearing and increased sample size.