Abstract # 178:

Scheduled for Friday, August 19, 2005 07:00 PM-09:00 PM: (Cambridge/Oxford Room) Poster Presentation


D. J. Mandell1,2, S. E. Ward1 and G. P. Sackett1,2
1University of Washington, WaNPRC, Box 357330, Seattle, WA 98195-7330, USA, 2University of Washington, Department of Psychology
     Computerized cognitive and perceptual testing has been used extensively with adult non-human primates for more than 20 years. The development of this technology has resulted in many advancements in understanding adult brain-behavior relations across a variety of cognitive and perceptual abilities. However, there has been little to no migration of this technology to the assessment of very young human or non-human primates. The major barriers that have prevented the use of this technology with young infants center around their developmental limitations. We describe a training procedure and software (visual basic) that was developed to teach infant monkeys to interact with a touchscreen computer. The training procedure and software were developed specifically to address the unique problems and barriers that may prevent an infant monkey or human from performing in this environment. Thirteen nursery-reared infant pigtail macaques (M. nemestrina) were assessed on this procedure. Eight infants began training at 90 post-natal days of age and 5 began at 180 post-natal days. All animals were successfully trained to reliably touch a stimulus presented on a computer screen. Both groups completed training in an average of 23.5 days (SD = 9.6). No significant differences were found between the two groups based on time to complete training. Our work demonstrates the feasibility of assessing cognitive and perceptual development with computer technology in very young primates. Supported by NIH grants RR00166 and HD02274.