Abstract # 154:

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


A. Riddle and A. Paukner
NIH Animal Center, 16701 Elmer School Road, Dickerson, MD 20842, USA
     Capuchin monkeys (Cebus apella) will rub objects on their fur that have a pungent scent and are invigorating. Fur rubbing behavior is often a social act that consists of multiple monkeys sitting and leaning on one another. However, fur rubbing among capuchins has been shown to decrease social cohesion within the group and increase aggressive behavior. To test whether the decreased affiliation and increase in aggression is due to latent olfactory communication signals associated with fur rubbing with pungent materials, in this study we compared social cohesion after fur rubbing with onions or ice cubes. Each monkey (N=20) was observed for 45 minutes, and tested in three conditions: onion, ice cube, and apple (control). If the decrease in social group cohesion is related to scent, we would expect an increase in aggression and decrease in affiliation in the onion condition, but not the apple and ice cube condition. Results show that compared to the apple condition, there was a decrease in affiliation (p=.05) and trends indicating an increase in aggression in both the onion and ice cube condition. Furthermore, capuchin monkeys spent less time in close proximity to one another in both the ice cube and onion condition. Our results indicate latent olfactory communication signals may not be the cause for the decrease social group cohesion and increase in aggression following fur rubbing bouts.