Abstract # 3206 Event # 67:

Scheduled for Saturday, September 17, 2011 05:15 PM-05:30 PM: Session 13 (Meeting Room 408) Oral Presentation


RHESUS MACAQUE (MACACA MULATTA) MOTHERS' RESPONSE TO SEPARATION FROM THEIR INFANTS PARALLELS THEIR PREVIOUS REACTION TO SEPARATION FROM THEIR MOTHERS DURING INFANCY

T. A. Weinstein, L. Del Rosso and J. P. Capitanio
California National Primate Research Center, University of California, Davis, One Shields Ave, Davis, CA 95616, USA
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Mother and infant rhesus macaques display a range of responses to separation from one another which may have important behavioral and health consequences. A crucial question is whether an infant’s reaction to her mother’s absence predicts her adult reaction to her own infant’s absence. We presented 258 mothers at the California National Primate Research Center with a food treat for five seconds, three consecutive times, during a 25-hour separation from their infants. We recorded whether they took the treat, and rated attitudes using seven adjectives: Aggressive, Bold, Calm, Depressed, Fearful, Gentle, Nervous. Subjects had experienced a 25-hour maternal separation at age 3-4 months for our colony-wide BioBehavioral Assessment (BBA). We used logistic regression to determine whether parity, serotonin transporter and MAO-A genotype, and eight BBA-derived temperament scores predicted willingness to take the treat. The model was significant (chi-square = 34.757, df = 13, p = 0.001; Nagelkerke R2 = 0.198): mothers who took the treat had scored higher on BBA day 1 emotionality, indicating less behavioral inhibition. We also found significant concordance between subjects’ adult attitude ratings and their previous ratings on the same-named BBA temperament traits (Lawlis & Lu chi-square, all p < 0.0001). Our results demonstrate that, during maternal separation, less inhibited infants become more willing to accept a food treat as adults, and display significant continuity in overall behavioral style.