Abstract # 225:

Scheduled for Monday, September 19, 2011 11:00 AM-11:15 AM: Session 30 (Meeting Room 410) Oral Presentation


MONKEY SEE, MONKEY DO: UTILIZING MIMICRY TO INCREASE THE EFFICIENCY OF TRAINING CAPTIVE CYNOMOLGUS MACAQUES (MACACA FASICULARIS)

S. L. Nelsen, D. Bradford and P. Houghton
Panther Tracks Learning Center, Primate Products, Inc., Immokalee, FL 34142, USA
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     Studies have shown that primates can learn tasks through the observations of others. Utilization of social learning or mimicry in positive reinforcement training (PRT) endeavors can improve the efficiency of the end result, while decreasing the physical training efforts of the trainer. To test this hypothesis, 20 male cynomolgus macaques were designated into two equal groups, Group 1, the teachers, and Group 2, the learners. Group 1 was housed on the left side of the room, while Group 2 was on the right side. During training of Group 1, mirrors were removed from the cages of Group 1 to account for possible observation of each other during training. Group 1 was trained to do the following behaviors: Target to a target wand, and target to a stationary target to aide in separating paired animals. The behaviors were considered learned when a person other than the trainer could cue the animal and receive the desired response. Once 80% of the macaques from Group 1 had learned the behaviors, the trainer began training the same behaviors to Group 2. On average, the training sessions required to train the behaviors with Group 2 were less than the sessions needed to train the same behaviors with Group 1. By using mimicry with PRT, a trainer can reduce the overall time needed to train macaques, while still yielding positive results.