Abstract # 131:

Scheduled for Friday, June 22, 2012 07:00 PM-09:00 PM: Session 22 (Gardenia) Poster Presentation


C. A. Begnoche1, A. F. Hamel1,2 and M. A. Novak1,3
1University of Massachusetts Amherst, Department of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, Amherst, MA 01003, USA, 2Neuroscience and Behavior Program, 3Department of Psychology
     Although the effects of construction noise have been documented for rodents and livestock, there is little information about such effects in non-human primates. The purpose of this study was to examine the impact of a large construction project (erection of 7 dormitory buildings proximal to an animal facility) on anxious behavior using the Human Intruder Test (HIT). During the HIT, subjects are exposed to the profile and stare of an unfamiliar human intruder for 2- minutes each, with intervening 2-minute baselines. Subjects, 9 rhesus monkeys (3 males), were exposed to the HIT 3 months before the start of construction and 3 months after the start of construction. We hypothesized that ongoing construction noise would cause an increase in anxiety related behavior. Subjects performed significantly more behaviors overall (p =0 .02) during construction compared to the preconstruction period. This increase was especially pronounced during both the intruder phases (profile and stare) compared to the 2- minute baseline periods (p = 0.01). An examination of individual behaviors revealed a significant increase in environmental exploration (p =0 .015) during construction but no difference in anxious behaviors from the preconstruction to the construction period (p>0.05). It is possible that animals may have rapidly adapted to the construction noise such that anxious behaviors were negligible by the third month even though overall activity levels were elevated.