Social separation in monkeys

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Abstract

Reviews phenomena associated with social separation from attachment objects in nonhuman primates. A biphasic protest-despair reaction to social separation is often seen in monkeys, as in human children. However, upon reunion there is generally a temporary increase in attachment behaviors rather than a temporary phase of detachment, as has been reported in the human literature. Gross factors such as age and sex do not appear to influence the responses to separation or reunion substantially. Rather, behavioral repertoires prior to separation and the nature of the separation and reunion environments appear to be more important determinants of the severity of separation reactions. These findings are consistent with the human literature. Possible long-term consequences of early separations are also discussed. Four theoretical treatments of separation phenomena are presented and evaluated: J. Bowlby's attachment-object-loss theory, I. C. Kaufman's conservation-withdrawal theory, M. E. P. Seligman's learned helplessness theory, and R. L. Solomon and J. D. Corbit's opponent-process theory. (95 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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