Computer-task testing of rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta) in the social milieu
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Previous research has demonstrated that a behavior and performance testing paradigm, in which rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta) manipulate a joystick to respond to computer-generated stimuli, provides environmental enrichment and supports the psychological well-being of captive research animals. The present study was designed to determine whether computer-task activity would be affected by pair-housing animals that had previously been tested only in their single-animal home cages. No differences were observed in productivity or performance levels as a function of housing condition, even when the animals were required to “self-identify” prior to performing each trial. The data indicate that cognitive challenge and control are as preferred by the animals as social opportunities, and that, together with comfort/health considerations, each must be addressed for the assurance of psychological well-being.
Key WordsEnvironmental enrichment Psychological well-being Apparatus Social housing Cognitive tasks
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