Abstract # 2161:

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The Effect of Four Nursery-rearing Strategies on the Emergence of Self-directed Behavior in Laboratory-housed Rhesus Macaques (Macaca mulatta)

I. Rommeck1,2, B. McCowan1,2, J. P. Capitanio1,2 and N. W. Lerche1,2
1California National Primate Research Center, UC Davis, One Shields Ave, Davis, CA 95616, USA, 2UC Davis
     Nursery rearing is the single most important risk factor in the development of severe forms of abnormal behavior, such as self-biting, in rhesus macaques. We examined the effects of variation in socialization on the emergence of self-directed behaviors. Different socialization routines were conducted on 32 newborn infants in four treatment groups: (1) continuously paired; (2) intermittently paired; (3) continuously paired rotationally (partners are rotated within the group once a week) and (4) intermittently paired rotationally. Behavioral data were collected using a focal animal one-zero sampling design. Infants were also biobehaviorally evaluated to assess their behavioral and physiological profiles to examine personality and temperament. Data were analyzed using negative binomial regression [a=0.05] for the emergence and rates of abnormal and social behaviors in relationship to rearing condition and biobehavioral organization. Results suggest that continuous pairing regimes are most effective in significantly reducing the development of abnormal behaviors (i.e. self-bite and floating limb) while intermittent pairing significantly reduces partner clinging and geckering, an infant vocalization indicative of social stress.