Behavioral economic analysis of water intake in a laboratory rhesus macaque
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Behavioral economics is useful for understanding the influence of environmental manipulation on a variety of behaviors, including drug self-administration, food intake, and stock behavior. The present study employed behavioral economics to investigate the psychologically satisfying amount of water intake in a laboratory rhesus macaque. Our institutional guidelines set a minimum amount of daily water intake. However, no study to date has determined whether that minimum amount is psychologically sufficient. In the present experiment, a monkey lived in an individual cage in which the only water available was delivered by chain pulling. A fixed number of responses was required for water delivery. This fixed ratio (FR) of responses per water delivery was progressively increased from FR 2 to FR 10. The study findings showed that during the FR 2 condition, demand for water was saturated at 131.3 ml/kg body weight (BW) (ranging from 95.1 to 211.2). The monkey’s daily intake of water decreased as FR size incrementally increased, approaching an asymptote under the FR 8 and FR 10 conditions. During the FR 8 and FR 10 conditions, responding ceased when this monkey earned 53.5 ml/kg-BW (ranging from 32.7 to 74.9) of water. Therefore, the amount of water obtained under these conditions might provide a psychologically satisfying amount. Although these values were obtained from the behavioral study of one monkey, they were almost equivalent to values in our institutional guidelines that were determined by veterinary observations. These findings imply that behavioral economics is useful for studying the welfare of laboratory animals.
KeywordsAnimal welfare Behavioral economics Closed economy Rhesus macaque Water consumption
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