Abstract # 114:

Scheduled for Friday, June 21, 2013 10:30 AM-10:45 PM: Session 13 (San Geronimo Ballroom C) Oral Presentation


PATTERNS OF BEHAVIORAL REGRESSION: USING QUANTITATIVE DATA TO EXPLORE INCREASING COMPLIANCE OF COMPLEX TRAINED BEHAVIORS IN CHIMPANZEES (PAN TROGLODYTES)

R. L. Haller1, L. A. Reamer1, H. D. Freeman2, S. J. Schapiro1,3 and S. P. Lambeth1
1Michale E. Keeling Center for Comparative Medicine and Research, Department of Veterinary Sciences, The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, 650 Coolwater Drive, Bastrop, TX 78602, USA, 2Lester E. Fisher Center for the Study and Conservation of Apes, Lincoln Park Zoo, 3Department of Experimental Medicine, University of Copenhagen and University Hospital
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     Although regression, reversion to an earlier behavioral level, may be a normal part of a positive reinforcement training program, few data exist that address this issue. We explored patterns of regression from our sedation records (1996-2012) from 211 chimpanzees. These records reflect the chimpanzees’ level of cooperation during an anesthetic injection (voluntarily presented or did not present). For analysis, chimpanzees were considered ‘trained’ for an anesthetic event if they voluntarily presented 3 times consecutively. Once trained, regression was recorded if a chimpanzee did not voluntarily present for an injection at least 2 consecutive times. All but one chimpanzee presented at least once for an anesthetic event. However, only 137 animals (65%) were considered trained to criterion, with 44 having one or more regressions. Neither sex nor rearing were factors affecting whether an animal regressed, yet chimpanzees who regressed scored significantly higher on the personality factor of methodical (U=709.00; n=92; p=.008) than those that did not regress. We investigated possible reasons for regression by examining both clinical and housing records and identified a number of factors which may have led to regression. Experiencing ‘unpredictable’ sedations that were different from normal sedations for physical examinations accounted for the highest number of regressions. Identifying trends for regression should allow us to determine individualized solutions to increase compliance for important trained behaviors.