Abstract # 108:

Scheduled for Saturday, September 17, 2011 07:00 PM-09:00 PM: Session 14 (Salon G (Sixth Floor)) Poster Presentation


A. Paukner and S. J. Suomi
Laboratory of Comparative Ethology, NIH Animal Center, Poolesville, MD 20837, USA

Fur rubbing has often been attributed as a social as well as a medicinal function in capuchin monkeys, yet a recent study found that tufted capuchin monkeys show increased levels of aggression and decreased levels of affiliation after fur rubbing bouts. One hypothesis is that pungent materials used for fur rubbing might interfere with olfactory cues used to regulate social interactions within a group, thus changing how group members react to others who have engaged in fur rubbing. To test this hypothesis, we separated individual monkeys from their social group (N=15). We used a within-subject design and provided separated individuals with onions in the fur rub condition or with apples in the control condition. After 15 minutes of interactions with materials, subjects were released back into their social group and observed for 15 minutes. We found that subjects were more likely to receive aggression and less likely to receive affiliation from their group members in the fur rub condition when compared to the control condition (t-tests, alpha = 0.05). There were no differences between conditions in subjects’ initiations of aggressive and affiliative actions towards others. These results support the idea that fur rubbing carries social aftereffects for capuchin monkeys which may be attributable to interactions with fur rub materials.