The Effects of Total Social Isolation Rearing on Behavior of Rhesus and Pigtail Macaques

  • Gene P. Sackett
  • Richard A. Holm
  • Gerald C. Ruppenthal
  • Carol E. Farhrenbruch
Part of the Advances in Behavioral Biology book series (ABBI)


Rhesus monkeys (M. mulatta) raised in social isolation exhibit a variety of post-rearing abnormalities which are so consistent that they have been termed “The Isolation Syndrome” (Sackett and Ruppenthal, 1973). This syndrome includes deviant personal behavior such as body rocking, self-clutching, peculiar postures, stereotyped locomotion, self-directed aggression, and a type of “waxy flexibility” in which an arm or a leg floats upward uncoordinated with other ongoing behavior. Isolates are also low in exploratory behavior, have almost no positive social interaction, and are abnormal as adults in sexual and maternal behavior. The only major type of behavior not showing pronounced abnormality is learning. Compared with socialized controls including wild-born monkeys, rhesus isolates are not deficient in discrimination, delayed response, or learning set performance (Gluck and Harlow, 1971; Harlow, et al., 1968).


Rhesus Monkey Rear Condition Total Isolate Positive Social Interaction Isolation Rear 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1976

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gene P. Sackett
    • 1
  • Richard A. Holm
    • 1
  • Gerald C. Ruppenthal
    • 1
  • Carol E. Farhrenbruch
    • 1
  1. 1.Psychology Department, Regional Primate Research Center, Child Development and Mental Retardation CenterUniversity of WashingtonUSA

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