Abstract # 185:

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


S. Ward1, G. P. Sackett1,2 and D. J. Mandell1,2
1Washington National Primate Research Center and Infant Primate Research Laboratory, Box 357330, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195, USA, 2University of Washington, Department of Psychology
     Visual recognition memory tasks assess early human infant intelligence, measured by time spent looking at novel rather than familiar stimuli. A novelty preference reveals memory for the familiar stimulus, and suggests that the infant can categorize objects. To determine if neonatal recognition memory predicts later cognitive ability in pigtail macaques, we correlated novelty preference scores at 191 post-conception days of age with concept learning measures at 180 post-natal days. For the memory test, we used the Fagan procedure in which two identical visual patterns are presented during a familiarization period, followed by a test pairing the familiar with a novel pattern. On average, infants looked at the novel stimulus 71.5% of test time. For the discrimination learning set, we used a standard WGTA procedure presenting 240 unique stimulus 6-trial problems, analyzed in 8 30-problem blocks. In block 8, trial 2 performance indexing learning set concept acquisition averaged 62.7% correct, while trial 6 performance indexing within-problem learning efficiency averaged 80.5%. Only one significant correlation (r = 0.5, P ≤ 0.001) was found, that between block-8: trial-6 percent correct and percent novel time. No significant correlations were found between novelty percentage and trial 2 performance at any stage of learning. Thus, neonatal recognition memory did not predict later concept learning, suggesting that the tasks assess different abilities or one or both are not good measures of infant monkey intelligence. Supported by NIH grants RR00166 and HD02274.