Rhesus macaque (Macaca mulatta) use of novel touchscreen enrichment across temperament and time Open Access

Brennan, Caitlin Rochelle (2016)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/8336h2025?locale=en


The provision of environmental enrichment encourages species-typical behavior, may reduce abnormal behaviors in captive animals, and is an important component of federally mandated provisions for captive non-human primate psychological welfare. Many practices and devices have been developed that promote these goals for primates in general; however, response to enrichment can vary widely between individual primates, and without food reinforcement primates can rapidly habituate to some enrichment devices. Technology-based enrichment, which can provide cognitive stimulation and give primates more control over their environment, may help address these concerns. Twelve singly-housed, female rhesus macaques of different temperaments were exposed to a novel, interactive touchscreen computer program, and their responses were recorded over a three week period. In this study, temperament did not affect tablet use or predict the overall occurrence of abnormal behavior. A subject's latency to engage with the tablet and duration of use during the first exposure session did not predict use in later sessions. Monkeys exhibited no preference between the two initial activities. Overall tablet use decreased across the first two weeks of exposure, but the addition of a bubble screen saver, which increased visual complexity, corresponded to an increase in tablet use during the third week of exposure. Although temperament was not found to predict tablet use, almost all subjects engaged with the tablet during this study, and the pattern of use over time suggested that the complexity of a tablet device promotes a promising resilience to habituation.

Table of Contents

Introduction. 1

Methods. 6

Results. 12

Discussion. 14

Future Directions. 18

References. 20

Figures. 26

Appendix. 33

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