International Journal of Primatology

, Volume 6, Issue 4, pp 377–393

Baboon sexual swellings and male response: A possible operational mammalian supernormal stimulus and response interaction

  • C. Bielert
  • Connie M. Anderson

DOI: 10.1007/BF02736384

Cite this article as:
Bielert, C. & Anderson, C.M. Int J Primatol (1985) 6: 377. doi:10.1007/BF02736384


Experimental work using coagulated masturbatory seminal emissions from nine adult male chacma baboons (Papio ursinus)as a dependent variable revealed that males show a greater sexual arousal response to female conspecifics exhibiting exaggerated perineal swellings. The menstrual cycles of the “superswollen” females did not differ in length or patterning from the controls. Since additional experimental work, including behavioral observations on females with normal and supersized swellings, failed to reveal differences in female proceptivity, the male’s increased arousal response appears dependent upon the perineal size per se.The males’ responses suggest that the supersized swellings may be an example of an operational visual supernormal stimulus and response interaction.

Key words

baboonmasturbationPapio ursinusperineal swellingseminal emissionsexual arousalsupernormal stimulus

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. Bielert
    • 1
  • Connie M. Anderson
    • 2
  1. 1.Primate Behaviour Research Group, School of PsychologyUniversity of the WitwatersrandJohannesburgSouth Africa
  2. 2.Department of Anatomy, Medical SchoolUniversity of the WitwatersrandJohannesburgSouth Africa
  3. 3.St. John’s CollegeHoughtonSouth Africa