A Computer Touch Screen System and Training Procedure for Use with Primate Infants: Results from Pigtail Monkeys (Macaca nemestrina)

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Computerized cognitive and perceptual testing has resulted in many advances towards understanding adult brain-behavior relations across a variety of abilities and species. However, there has been little migration of this technology to the assessment of very young primate subjects. We describe a training procedure and software that was developed to teach infant monkeys to interact with a touch screen computer. Eighteen infant pigtail macaques began training at 90-postnatal days and five began at 180-postnatal days. All animals were trained to reliably touch a stimulus presented on a computer screen and no significant differences were found between the two age groups. The results demonstrate the feasibility of using computers to assess cognitive and perceptual abilities early in development.

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