The expression of social dominance following neonatal lesions of the amygdala or hippocampus in rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta)

Université de Fribourg, Freiburg, Fribourg, Switzerland
Behavioral Neuroscience (Impact Factor: 2.73). 09/2006; 120(4):749-60. DOI: 10.1037/0735-7044.120.4.749
Source: PubMed


As part of ongoing studies on the neurobiology of socioemotional behavior in the nonhuman primate, the authors examined the social dominance hierarchy of juvenile macaque monkeys (Macaca mulatta) that received bilateral ibotenic acid lesions of the amygdala or the hippocampus or a sham surgical procedure at 2 weeks of age. The subjects were reared by their mothers with daily access to large social groups. Behavioral observations were conducted while monkeys were given access to a limited preferred food. This testing situation reliably elicited numerous species-typical dominance behaviors. All subjects were motivated to retrieve the food when tested individually. However, when a group of 6 monkeys was given access to only 1 container of the preferred food, the amygdala-lesioned monkeys had less frequent initial access to the food, had longer latencies to obtain the food, and demonstrated fewer species-typical aggressive behaviors. They were thus lower ranking on all indices of social dominance. The authors discuss these findings in relation to the role of the amygdala in the establishment of social rank and the regulation of aggression and fear.

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    • "Stimulation of the amygdala results in augmented aggressive behavior in hamsters (45,46), while in rhesus monkeys, neonatal lesions in the amygdala or hippocampus result in reduced expression of social dominance, related to the regulation of aggression and fear (47). In many mammals, the circuitry within the amygdala appears to be involved in the control of aggression. "
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