Abstract # 4506 Poster # 151:

Scheduled for Friday, June 21, 2013 07:00 PM-09:00 PM: Session 21 (SG Foyer ABC) Poster Presentation


EXPLORING BEHAVIORAL RESPONSES TO DIFFERENT TYPES OF NOVELTY IN FREE-RANGE INFANT RHESUS MACAQUES (MACACA MULATTA) ON CAYO SANTIAGO, PUERTO RICO

C. Fleener1, G. Ruber2 and D. Maestripieri1
1University of Chicago, Comparative Human Development Department, Chicago, Illinois 60637, USA, 2MAPSS, University of Chicago
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Novelty can be both scary and interesting and is commonly used to assess stress and exploratory behaviors in individuals. Here, I investigate how different types of novel stimuli can elicit consistently different behavioral responses and explore what factors may mediate these responses. I tested 47 rhesus macaque infants at 9-12 months of age. Each individual was introduced to 5 objects in random order differing in their type of novelty: a stick from the environment was used as a control; a colorful ball was neutrally novel in shape and color; a wand was neutrally novel in color; a rubber snake was a novel and threatening; and a mirror was novel and socially interactive. I show a difference in behavior around each object. The latency to approach to within 1m of the rubber snake was significantly less (K-W, alpha=0.002) than all other objects, and more time was spent inspecting both the snake and mirror (K-W, alpha=0.04). There were also low and high responding individuals, with no significant effect of sex, rank, or polymorphisms in the SERT or OPRM1 genes associated with anxiety-related personality traits. This suggests there are other strong developmental influences such as early experience may mediate an individual’s exploratory behavior and responsivity to novel stressors.