Abstract # 81:

Scheduled for Thursday, June 20, 2013 07:00 PM-09:00 PM: Session 9 (SG Foyer ABC) Poster Presentation


A STUDY OF INFANT TEMPERAMENT IN THE NOCTURNAL OWL MONKEY (AOTUS)

J. A. Herrington1,2, B. Yusko1 and S. Evans1
1Florida International University, 11200 SW 8th St, Miami, FLORIDA 33174, USA, 2DuMond Conservancy
line
     Little is known about the development of infant temperament in owl monkeys (Aotus), a nocturnal new-world primate. Temperament in infant primates, which includes emotional reactivity to novel or stressful situations, can lead to a better understanding of the development of social and emotional behavior in adolescence and adulthood. Our study utilized camera trap data and direct observations of owl monkey infants’ response to a novel object in a unique, semi-naturalistic environment: DuMond Conservancy in Miami, Florida. Response to a novel object is a common measure of infant temperament in primates. Latency of first approach, number of approaches, and frequency and duration of manipulation of the novel object was recorded and compared in owl monkeys infants and their parents (N=3). We found that infants with parents who had less emotional reactivity to the novel object also displayed less reactivity to the novel object. Mann-Whitney U tests found differences in the infants’ latency to approach (p < .001), frequency (p < .05) and duration of manipulation (p < .005). Parental scores on these measures predicted the differences in infant behavior. To our knowledge, this is the first study to examine the development of temperament in infant owl monkeys in a semi-naturalistic environment. Our ongoing study will assess urinary cortisol as a biomarker to better understand the underlying physiological responses to novelty and stress in owl monkey infants.