Ethograms indicate stable well-being during prolonged training phases in rhesus monkeys used in neurophysiological research

Steffen R. Hage, Torben Ott, Anne Kathrin Eiselt, Simon N. Jacob, Andreas Nieder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations

Abstract

Awake, behaving rhesus monkeys are widely used in neurophysiological research. Neural signals are typically measured from monkeys trained with operant conditioning techniques to perform a variety of behavioral tasks in exchange for rewards. Over the past years, monkeys' psychological well-being during experimentation has become an increasingly important concern. We suggest objective criteria to explore whether training sessions during which the monkeys work under controlled water intake over many days might affect their behavior. With that aim, we analyzed a broad range of species-specific behaviors over several months ('ethogram') and used these ethograms as a proxy for the monkeys' well-being. Our results show that monkeys' behavior during training sessions is unaffected by the duration of training-free days in-between. Independently of the number of training-free days (two or nine days) with ad libitum food and water supply, the monkeys were equally active and alert in their home group cages during training phases. This indicates that the monkeys were well habituated to prolonged working schedules and that their well-being was stably ensured during the training sessions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)82-87
Number of pages6
JournalLaboratory Animals
Volume48
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2014
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Macaca mulatta
  • Neurophysiology
  • Non-human primate
  • Operant conditioning
  • Species-specific behavior
  • Water restriction

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