Evaluation of environmental and intrinsic factors that contribute to stereotypic behavior in captive rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta)

Daniel H. Gottlieb, Adriane Maier, Kristine Coleman

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    11 Scopus citations


    Full body repetitive behaviors, known as motor stereotypic behaviors (MSBs), are one of the most commonly seen abnormal behaviors in captive non-human primates, and are frequently used as a behavioral measure of well-being. The main goal of this paper was to examine the role of environmental factors (i.e., foraging enrichment and socialization) and intrinsic factors (i.e., temperament and origin) in the development of MSB in rhesus macaques living in cages. MSB was assessed during short annual observations in which a trained observer recorded a monkey's behavior for 5. min, followed by a 3-min novel object test. Data were collected over 11 years, totaling 9805 observations. We compared MSB for animals with and without foraging enrichment, and across three socialization conditions: full contact pairing, protected contact socialization (partners physically separated by widely spaced bars), and single housing. In addition, we evaluated whether individual differences in response to a novel object and ancestral origin (i.e., China vs. India), predicted MSB expression during the annual observations. Data were analyzed using generalized mixed effects modeling, with the best fitting models chosen using Akaike Information Criterion. Subjects were at lowest risk for MSB when a foraging device was present (p

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)184-191
    Number of pages8
    JournalApplied Animal Behaviour Science
    Publication statusPublished - Oct 1 2015



    • Abnormal behavior
    • Enrichment
    • Foraging
    • Protected-contact
    • Stereotypy
    • Temperament
    • Welfare

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Animal Science and Zoology
    • Food Animals

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