Social Recovery of Monkeys Isolated for the First Year of Life: II. Long-Term Assessment

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journal abstract

Previous research demonstrated that the isolation syndrome in rhesus monkeys could be reversed by exposing isolate-reared monkeys to younger, “therapist” monkeys. However, estimates of social recovery were limited because the isolate monkeys were not tested with age-mates and the observations of these monkeys were restricted to the early juvenile period. The present series of experiments demonstrated that 3-year-old rehabilitated isolates could exhibit appropriate social behaviors to age-mate monkeys, but only after further treatment. Isolates were initially deficient to age-mate controls in their social repertoire and were attacked in social encounters with the normal monkeys. Isolate behavior did not change following 10 weeks of visual exposure to the age-mates, but it did improve substantially after the isolates were housed permanently as a group of four rather than individually. Tests with another group of age-mate controls and with monkey infants confirmed the newly acquired social competency of the isolates and their ability to interact appropriately and nonaggressively with young animals. The significance of these findings for theories of social development is discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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