Abstract # 6036 Event # 85:

Scheduled for Sunday, September 14, 2014 10:55 AM-11:10 AM: Session 13 (Decatur A) Oral Presentation


THE ROLES THAT HUMANS CAN PLAY IN ENHANCING SOCIAL, COMMUNICATIVE, COGNITIVE, AND EMOTIONAL DEVELOPMENT IN YOUNG NURSERY-REARED CHIMPANZEES

K. A. Bard
University of Portsmouth, Department of Psychology, King Henry Building, King Henry I Street, Portsmouth PO1 2DY, United Kingdom
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     Newborn chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes), in captivity, are not always adequately cared for by their biological mothers. In laboratory conditions, this results in their placement into a great ape nursery to optimize survival. In most nursery settings, infants are housed with a group of same-aged peers, which is a vast improvement over isolation rearing or rearing in dyads and triads. However, in these standard care nurseries, infant chimpanzees may have poor social skills, poor species-typical communication, poor cognitive outcomes, and often do not form organized attachments with adult caregivers (72% disorganized attachment), which may have long lasting consequences on health. In a Responsive Care (RC) nursery at the Yerkes Primate Research Center, specially trained human adults nurtured infant coping and species-typical development. The RC infants experienced nurturing of motor skills, social and communicative skills, and autonomy during their first year of life. RC significantly reduced the amount of disorganized attachment (to 41%), significantly enhanced infants' social cognition, and positively influenced their species-typical gestural communication compared to the chimpanzees raised under the standard nursery conditions. In captive conditions, including laboratories and sanctuaries, specially trained people can be a positive influence for young chimpanzees that, through no fault of their own, are not being raised by their biological mothers. Funded, in part, by NIH grants (RR-00165, HD-07105, RR-03591, and RR-06158), the European Commission (FP6-IST-045169), and The Leverhulme Trust.