Presentation Title

The Influence of Oxytocin on Marmoset Monkeys Playing a Cooperative Game

Advisor Information

Jeffrey French

Location

Dr. C.C. and Mabel L. Criss Library

Presentation Type

Poster

Start Date

4-3-2016 9:00 AM

End Date

4-3-2016 10:30 AM

Abstract

Marmosets, like humans, are social animals that cooperatively rear young in a family system and live in monogamous pairs. Maintaining these social relationships require individuals to make cooperative choices that would result in benefits to others. To examine how social and neuroendocrine factors may influence cooperative behavior in marmoset monkeys, I had them play a cooperative token exchange game. In this token exchange game, only marmosets that cooperate to make the best joint token decisions, receive the best reward outcomes. During the course of the study I found that the marmosets accurately associated colored tokens with highly preferred food rewards (marshmallows) over less preferred food rewards (carrots). During the token exchange training, marmosets developed a significant preference for the colored token that represented the preferred food reward [X2=56.47,p<0.05]. Unexpectedly, the marmosets were unable to establish reversal learning since the learned original token preference of the marmosets significantly persisted even when the reward for the token was reversed [X2=112.09,p<0.05]. This finding suggests an inability to demonstrate reversal learning and/or inability to exhibit response inhibition—an important precursor for complex cognitive processes. This inability to show reversal learning demonstrates a lack of understanding/motivation to perform the token exchange task across multiple contexts. As a result, we were unable to test whether oxytocin influenced cooperation in this token-exchange game. These findings suggest that the cooperative relationships found among marmosets do not require sophisticated cognitive processes, and future research should address cooperative decision making in marmosets using a more ecologically valid task.

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Mar 4th, 9:00 AM Mar 4th, 10:30 AM

The Influence of Oxytocin on Marmoset Monkeys Playing a Cooperative Game

Dr. C.C. and Mabel L. Criss Library

Marmosets, like humans, are social animals that cooperatively rear young in a family system and live in monogamous pairs. Maintaining these social relationships require individuals to make cooperative choices that would result in benefits to others. To examine how social and neuroendocrine factors may influence cooperative behavior in marmoset monkeys, I had them play a cooperative token exchange game. In this token exchange game, only marmosets that cooperate to make the best joint token decisions, receive the best reward outcomes. During the course of the study I found that the marmosets accurately associated colored tokens with highly preferred food rewards (marshmallows) over less preferred food rewards (carrots). During the token exchange training, marmosets developed a significant preference for the colored token that represented the preferred food reward [X2=56.47,p<0.05]. Unexpectedly, the marmosets were unable to establish reversal learning since the learned original token preference of the marmosets significantly persisted even when the reward for the token was reversed [X2=112.09,p<0.05]. This finding suggests an inability to demonstrate reversal learning and/or inability to exhibit response inhibition—an important precursor for complex cognitive processes. This inability to show reversal learning demonstrates a lack of understanding/motivation to perform the token exchange task across multiple contexts. As a result, we were unable to test whether oxytocin influenced cooperation in this token-exchange game. These findings suggest that the cooperative relationships found among marmosets do not require sophisticated cognitive processes, and future research should address cooperative decision making in marmosets using a more ecologically valid task.