Behavioral and hormonal effects of attachment object separation in surrogate-peer-reared and mother-reared infant rhesus monkeys.

Developmental Psychobiology (Impact Factor: 3.16). 10/1975; 8(5):425-35. DOI: 10.1002/dev.420080507
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Mother-reared and surrogate-peer-reared rhesus monkeys were separated from their respective attachment objects at 6 months of age and tested for the following 9 weeks to determine their home-cage behavior and their pituitary-adrenocortical responses to stress. Both groups displayed a strong immediate behavioral response to separation which was characterized by increased vocalization, increased locomotion, and decreased self-play. However, the surrogate-peer-reared infants showed a subsequent recovery in their levels of self-play whereas the mother-reared infants instead developed stereotypic behavior patterns such as repetitive pacing. The 2 groups displayed similar plasma cortisol responses to weekly sessions in an apparatus equipped with animated toy "monsters". Mother-reared but not surrogate-peer-reared subjects, however, also manifested elevated cortisol levels when an animal in an adjacent cage was captured and removed for stress testing. Mother-reared infant monkeys thus responded in a stronger and more prolonged manner to the loss of their attachment object than surrogate-peer-reared infants. These results suggest that infant rhesus monkeys form stronger attachments to monkey mothers than to inanimate surrogate mothers, a phenomenon which has not been as clearly demonstrated using other indices of attachment strength.

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