The HABRI Foundation is calling for research proposals to investigate the health outcomes of pet ownership and/or animal-assisted activity or therapy, both for the people and the animals involved. To learn more, visit close

HabriCentral will be intermittently unavailable due to scheduled maintenance on Tuesday, January 19, 2021 starting at 11am ET. There will be some downtime of site features during the maintenance period. Please plan accordingly and we do apologize for any inconvenience. close

You are here: Home / Journal Articles / Systematic investigation of the stability of food preferences in captive orangutans: implications for positive reinforcement training / About

Systematic investigation of the stability of food preferences in captive orangutans: implications for positive reinforcement training

By A. W. Clay, M. A. Bloomsmith, M. J. Marr, T. L. Maple

View Resource (HTM)

Licensed under

Category Journal Articles

Using preference-assessment tests with humans in conjunction with behavioral modification sessions has been a regular component of almost all operant conditioning programs with mentally challenged humans. This has been very effective in improving the efficiency of behavioral training in these settings and could be similarly effective in zoological and research environments. This study investigated the preferences of 9 captive orangutans for different food items. The study used a pairwise presentation to record each nonhuman animal's preferences for 5 different foods on 6 different occasions over the course of 6 months. Results of a Friedman's 2-way ANOVA indicated that the orangutans showed a clear overall preference for apple. However, there was significant variability among different orangutans in preference ranking for the 5 foods, as shown by a Kendall's tau. In addition, there was variability in preference rankings across time for each orangutan. Because the orangutans' preferences change over time and vary according to individual, regular assessments should identify items to be used as rewards in behavioral husbandry training or as part of feeding enrichment strategies.

Publication Title Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science
Volume 12
Issue 4
Pages 306-313
ISBN/ISSN 1088-8705
Publisher Taylor & Francis
DOI 10.1080/10888700903163492
Language English
Author Address Yerkes National Primate Research Center, Emory University, 954 Gatewood Road NE, Atlanta, GA 30329,
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animal husbandry
  2. Animal nutrition
  3. Animal rights
  4. Animals
  5. Animal welfare
  6. Conditioning
  7. Diets
  8. Education
  9. Enrichment
  10. Feeding
  11. Food preferences
  12. Great ape
  13. Humans
  14. Husbandry
  15. Mammals
  16. Men
  17. Mental deficiency
  18. Mentally disabled persons
  19. modification
  20. orangutans
  21. peer-reviewed
  22. Primates
  23. stability
  24. taste
  25. training
  26. vertebrates
  1. peer-reviewed