Abstract # 48:

Scheduled for Thursday, June 21, 2012 07:00 PM-09:00 PM: Session 9 (Gardenia) Poster Presentation


ASSESSING BEHAVIORAL INHIBITION IN RHESUS MACAQUES: TESTING LOCATION MATTERS

N. D. Robertson, A. Maier and K. Coleman
Oregon National Primate Res. Ctr., 505 NW 185th Ave, Beaverton, OR 97006, USA
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     Novel object tests are often utilized to assess aspects of temperament, including behavioral inhibition. Subjects are exposed to novel objects, and those who immediately inspect the objects are typically considered “exploratory” while those who do not inspect are considered “inhibited”. These tests are often performed in a novel room to reduce potential confounds. In this study, we examined whether 8 rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta) behaved differently when tested in a novel room compared to their home cage. We measured response to three stimuli (a novel food, a novel object, and an apple presented while a human stranger made direct eye contact). Four animals were tested in a novel room (NR), and four were tested in their home cage (HC). We re-tested the animals in the other condition 5-6 weeks later. The animals were more likely to touch the novel food in the HC than NR (Wilcoxon Z=2.04, p=0.04). While all animals quickly touched the food, only 4 touched it in NR. The same trend held true for the object (Z=1.83, p=0.07) and apple (Z=2.03, p=0.04). Monkeys inhibited to stimuli in the HC were inhibited to them in NR as well; however, the reverse was not true. While our sample size is small, these results suggest that assessing subjects in their home setting might be useful for identifying highly inhibited individuals.