Early predictors of impaired social functioning in male rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta)

Sclafani, Valentina, Del Rosso, L.A., Seil, S.K. , Calonder, L.A., Madrid, J.E., Bone, K.J., Sherr, E.H., Garner, J.P., Capitanio, J.P. and Parker, K.J. (2016) Early predictors of impaired social functioning in male rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta). PLoS ONE, 11 (10). ISSN 1932-6203

Full content URL: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0165401

Early predictors of impaired social functioning in male rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta)
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Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is characterized by social cognition impairments but its basic disease mechanisms remain poorly understood. Progress has been impeded by the absence of animal models that manifest behavioral phenotypes relevant to ASD. Rhesus monkeys are an ideal model organism to address this barrier to progress. Like humans, rhesus monkeys are highly social, possess complex social cognition abilities, and exhibit pronounced individual differences in social functioning. Moreover, we have previously shown that Low-Social (LS) vs. High-Social (HS) adult male monkeys exhibit lower social motivation and poorer social skills. It is not known, however, when these social deficits first emerge. The goals of this study were to test whether juvenile LS and HS monkeys differed as infants in their ability to process social information, and whether infant social abilities predicted later social classification (i.e., LS vs. HS), in order to facilitate earlier identification of monkeys at risk for poor social outcomes. Social classification was determined for N = 25 LS and N = 25 HS male monkeys that were 1-4 years of age. As part of a colony-wide assessment, these monkeys had previously undergone, as infants, tests of face recognition memory and the ability to respond appropriately to conspecific social signals. Monkeys later identified as LS vs. HS showed impairments in recognizing familiar vs. novel faces and in the species-typical adaptive ability to gaze avert to scenes of conspecific aggression. Additionally, multivariate logistic regression using infant social ability measures perfectly predicted later social classification of all N = 50 monkeys. These findings suggest that an early capacity to process important social information may account for differences in rhesus monkeys' motivation and competence to establish and maintain social relationships later in life. Further development of this model will facilitate identification of novel biological targets for intervention to improve social outcomes in at-risk young monkeys. Copyright © 2016 Sclafani et al.This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

Additional Information:cited By 12
Keywords:animal behavior, animal experiment, Article, controlled study, facial recognition, gaze, gaze aversion, infant, male, memory test, nonhuman, retrospective study, rhesus monkey, social adaptation, social aspect, social behavior, social class, social classification, social cognition, animal, association, face, memory, recognition, rhesus monkey, Animals, Cues, Macaca mulatta, Recognition (Psychology)
Subjects:C Biological Sciences > C820 Developmental Psychology
C Biological Sciences > C800 Psychology
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Psychology
ID Code:34830
Deposited On:12 Apr 2019 09:37

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