Abstract # 3220 Poster # 101:

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


THE EFFECTS OF SOCIAL CONDITION AND EXPERIENCE ON PHYSIOLOGICAL REACTIVITY IN A MONOGAMOUS PRIMATE (CALLICEBUS CUPREUS)

M. Jarcho1, S. P. Mendoza1,2 and K. L. Bales1,2
1University of California, Davis, Psychology Department, Davis, CA 95616, USA, 2California National Primate Research Center
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     An individual’s social circumstances can have significant effects on that individual’s behavior and physiology, which is hypothesized to be mediated in part by glucocorticoids. Novel situations also influence glucocorticoid concentrations, especially in neophobic species like the non-human primate model used for this study, the monogamous titi monkey (Callicebus cupreus). We investigated the connections between social condition, glucocorticoids, and health outcomes by collecting peripheral blood samples from 11 female monkeys before they were paired with a male and one month following the pairing. Samples were collected at specific time points to capture both basal and peak glucocorticoids levels. Individual females were grouped according to whether they had previous experience being paired ("experienced") or not ("inexperienced"). All females had similar cortisol prior to pairing, but previously experienced females showed significantly lower basal and peak cortisol following pairing (Experience: F=5.18, df=1, p=0.03; Experience*Pairing Status: F=8.55, df=1, p<0.01). This difference in reactions may be due to experienced females being familiar with forming a bond with a male, whereas for the inexperienced females the experience was novel. An unfamiliar male may represent a stressor to an inexperienced female, but a potential pair-mate to an experienced female. These findings support the hypothesis that both social condition and previous experience influence physiological reactivity. Changes in behavioral reactivity and cytokine levels associated with pairing are also being investigated.