Abstract # 2850 Poster # 48:

Scheduled for Thursday, June 17, 2010 07:00 PM-09:00 PM: Session 11 (Medallion Ballroom C/D/E/F) Poster Presentation


PARAMETERS OF ATTENTION TO TELEVISION IN RHESUS MONKEYS (MACACA MULATTA): PARALLELS TO TELEVISION VIEWING IN CHILDREN

M. Varnum, H. L. Kirkorian, D. R. Anderson and M. A. Novak
University of Massachusetts Amherst, Department of Psychology, Amherst, Massachusetts 01003, USA
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It is known that rhesus monkeys watch TV and have content preferences. Children’s television look lengths (durations from onset of gaze toward screen to offset) are lognormally distributed with many short looks and few long ones. This study examined rhesus monkey look lengths. Four rhesus macaques watched 3 different television shows (a 60-min neutral slide presentation with 2 min per slide, a 60-min Sesame Street Show, and a 60-min show of wild macaques). Monkeys were videotaped and looking time was coded using MPEG Streamclip. As expected, monkeys spent more time watching the Sesame video and macaque video than static slides [t(3)=-5.11, P=0.01] and [t(3)=-4.63, P=0.02 respectively]. Average look length for monkeys watching the primate video was significantly shorter than reported for children watching Sesame Street [1.87 sec vs.6.48 sec; t(3)=-10.54, P=0.002]. Like children, monkeys’ look lengths were lognormally distributed. The shape parameter was similar for monkeys and children, however, the scale parameter was significantly lower in rhesus monkeys [t(3)=-12.65, P=0.001], particularly because there were very few long looks compared to child looking. Like children, hazard plots confirmed that both individually and as a group, monkeys showed attentional inertia; that is, animals were progressively less likely to look away as a function of elapsed time into the look. Thus, television viewing in rhesus monkeys has some similarity to human television viewing. Supported by RR11122, RR00168.