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Positive reinforcement training as a technique to alter nonhuman primate behavior: quantitative assessments of effectiveness. (Training Nonhuman Primates Using Positive Reinforcement Techniques)

By S. J. Schapiro, M. A. Bloomsmith, G. E. Laule

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Abstract

Many suggest that operant conditioning techniques can be applied successfully to improve the behavioral management of nonhuman primates in research settings. However, relatively little empirical data exist to support this claim. This article is a review of several studies that discussed applied positive reinforcement training techniques (PRT) on breeding/research colonies of rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta) and chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center and measured their effectiveness. Empirical analyses quantified the amount of time required to train rhesus monkeys to come up, station, target, and stay. Additionally, a study found that time spent affiliating by female rhesus was changed as a function of training low affiliators to affiliate more and high affiliators to affiliate less. Another study successfully trained chimpanzees to feed without fighting and to come inside on command. PRT is an important behavioral management tool that can improve the care and welfare of primates in captivity. Published empirical findings are essential for managers to assess objectively the utility of positive reinforcement training techniques in enhancing captive management and research procedures.

Publication Title Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science
Volume 6
Issue 3
Pages 175-187
ISBN/ISSN 1088-8705
Publisher Taylor & Francis
DOI 10.1207/S15327604JAWS0603_03
Language English
Author Address Department of Veterinary Sciences, The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, 650 Cool Water Drive, Bastrop, TX 78602, USA.sschapir@mdanderson.org
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Tags
  1. Aggression
  2. Animal behavior
  3. Animals
  4. Behavior and behavior mechanisms
  5. Chimpanzees
  6. Feeding
  7. Great ape
  8. Laboratory animal science
  9. Mammals
  10. Monkeys
  11. peer-reviewed
  12. Primates
  13. Reviews
  14. training of animals
  15. vertebrates
Badges
  1. peer-reviewed