Abstract # 146:

Scheduled for Saturday, June 19, 2010 01:45 PM-01:55 PM: Session 24 (Mezzanine Ballroom A/B/C/D) Oral Presentation


A. M. Barnard1,2 and T. E. Ziegler1
1Wisconsin National Primate Research Center, 1220 Capitol Court, Madison, WI 53715, USA, 2Department of Psychology, University of Wisconsin, Madison

Hormonal regulation of paternal behavior is poorly understood in bi-parental primates. We have previously reported that parentally naïve male Common Marmosets (Callithrix Jacchus) are less responsive to distressed infant stimuli than parentally experienced males. We predict that steroid priming using estradiol will increase responsiveness to infant stimuli in parentally naïve males. Eight male naïve marmosets were primed under three treatment levels of estradiol (low dose=35µg, high dose=70µg, vehicle dose sesame oil). Males were tested for motivation to respond to infant distress signals (MP3 device playing vocal stimuli) in a specialized testing cage. During each treatment, males were habituated and then separately exposed to an infant distress vocalization and a control vocalization. Out of 13 recorded behaviors, the long calls appear to show the most significant effect of treatment. Compared to vehicle control treatment, naïve males significantly decreased their frequency of long-calls when exposed to infant vocalizations while under low estradiol treatment [ANOVA: F(2, 4)=6.05, P=0.03) and high estradiol treatment [ANOVA: F(2, 4)= 8.52, P=0.01]. This effect minimized normal contact calls (i.e., long calls) while males focused more attention toward infant stimuli in a dose responsive manner. These results suggest that estradiol priming elicits experienced-like behaviors in naïve males, causing males to attend more to infants.