Skip to main content

Effects of parity and age on female attraction to faces of infants and neonates in rhesus macaques

Abstract

This study investigated the effects of parity and age on female rhesus macaque attention toward infants, and assessed whether the faces of neonates are more attractive than those of older infants. Six nulliparous and six multiparous females were shown digitized images of neonates’ and 5- to 6-month-old infants’ faces. Attention and preferences for images were measured by gaze duration and other picture-directed behaviors, including lip smacking, approaches, and presentations. As predicted, nulliparous females displayed significantly longer gaze durations for images than did multiparous females. There were no significant differences in gaze duration for faces of neonates and those of infants, but images of infants were approached more frequently than images of neonates. This difference is tentatively explained on the basis of differences in female familiarity with neonates’ and infants’ faces and differences in opportunities for allomothering with neonates and infants.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2

References

  • Demaria C, Thierry B (1988) Responses to animal stimulus photographs in stumptailed macaques (Macaca arctoides). Primates 29:237–244

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Dufour V, Pascalis O, Petit O (2006) Face processing limitation to own species in primates: a comparative study in brown capuchins, Tonkean macaques and humans. Behav Process 73:107–113

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Feldman SS, Nash SC, Cutrona C (1977) The influence of age and sex on responsiveness to babies. Dev Psychol 13:675–676

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Fujita K (1987) Species recognition by five macaque monkeys. Primates 28:353–366

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Fujita K, Watanabe K, Widarto TH, Suryobroto B (1997) Discrimination of macaques: the case of Sulawesi species. Primates 38:233–245

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Fullard W, Reiling AM (1976) An investigation of Lorenz’s “babyness”. Child Dev 47:1191–1193

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Gerald MS, Bernstein J, Hinkson R, Fosbury R (2001) A formal method for objective assessment of primate color. Am J Primatol 53:79–85

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Hinde RA, Spencer-Booth Y (1967) The behaviour of socially living rhesus monkeys in their first two and a half years. Anim Behav 15:169–196

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Lorenz K (1971) Part and parcel in animal and human societies. In: Lorenz K (ed) Studies in animal and human behavior, vol II. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, pp 115–195

  • Lovejoy J, Wallen K (1988) Sexually dimorphic behavior in group-housed rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta) at 1 year of age. Psychobiology 16:348–356

    Google Scholar 

  • Maestripieri D (1994) Mother–infant relationships in three species of macaques (Macaca mulatta, M. nemestrina, M. arctoides). II. The social environment. Behaviour 131:97–113

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Maestripieri D (1995) First steps in the macaque world: do rhesus mothers encourage their infants’ independent locomotion? Anim Behav 49:1541–1549

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Maestripieri D (2005) Effects of early experience on female behavioural and reproductive development in rhesus macaques. Proc R Soc Lond B 272:1243–1248

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Maestripieri D, Pelka S (2002) Sex differences in interest in infants across the lifespan: a biological adaptation for parenting? Hum Nat 13:327–344

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Martin P, Bateson P (1993) Measuring behaviour. An introductory guide. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Paukner A, Anderson JR, Borelli E, Visalberghi E, Ferrari PF (2005) Macaques (Macaca nemestrina) recognise when they are being imitated. Proc R Soc Lond Biol Lett 1:219–222

    Google Scholar 

  • Waitt C, Little AC, Wolfensohn S, Honess P, Brown AP, Buchanan-Smith HM, Perrett DI (2003) Evidence from rhesus macaques suggests male coloration plays a role in female primate mate choice. Proc R Soc Lond Biol Lett 270:144–146

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgments

All experimental and animal care procedures complied with the current laws of Puerto Rico and the United States. The IACUC of the University of Puerto Rico, Medical Sciences Campus approved this investigation (Protocol # 6810103). This study was supported by a grant awarded to M.S. Gerald by The Leakey Foundation and under NIH, NCRR grant CM-20-P40RR003640-13 awarded to the Caribbean Primate Research Center, and awards from the University of Puerto Rico-Medical Sciences Campus. We thank Dr. Janis Gonzalez, Dr. Mario Rodriguez, Dr. Edmundo Kraiselburd, and the caretaking staff of the Sabana Seca Field Station, particularly Milton Martínez, whose logistical support allowed us to complete our experiments successfully. We also thank Dr. Anthony Little and Professor David Perrett for generously providing access to the necessary technical equipment and expertise.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Corri Waitt.

About this article

Cite this article

Waitt, C., Maestripieri, D. & Gerald, M.S. Effects of parity and age on female attraction to faces of infants and neonates in rhesus macaques. Primates 48, 164–167 (2007). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10329-006-0018-x

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10329-006-0018-x

Keywords

  • Infant attractiveness
  • Females
  • Age
  • Parity
  • Rhesus macaque