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Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience

December 2013, Vol. 25, No. 12, Pages 2124-2140
(doi: 10.1162/jocn_a_00483)
© 2013 Massachusetts Institute of Technology
The Impact of Early Amygdala Damage on Juvenile Rhesus Macaque Social Behavior
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The present experiments continue a longitudinal study of rhesus macaque social behavior following bilateral neonatal ibotenic acid lesions of the amygdala or hippocampus, or sham operations. Juvenile animals (approximately 1.5–2.5 years) were tested in four different social contexts—alone, while interacting with one familiar peer, while interacting with one unfamiliar peer, and in their permanent social groups. During infancy, the amygdala-lesioned animals displayed more interest in conspecifics (indexed by increased affiliative signaling) and paradoxically demonstrated more submission or fear (Bauman, Lavenex, Mason, Capitanio, & Amaral, 2004a, this journal). When these animals were assessed as juveniles, differences were less striking. Amygdala-lesioned animals generated fewer aggressive and affiliative signals (e.g., vocalizations, facial displays) and spent less time in social interactions with familiar peers. When animals were observed alone or with an unfamiliar peer, amygdala-lesioned animals, compared with other subjects, spent more time being inactive and physically explored the environment less. Despite the subtle, lesion-based differences in the frequency and duration of specific social behaviors, there were lesion-based differences in the organization of behavior such that lesion groups could be identified based on the patterning of social behaviors in a discriminant function analysis. The findings indicate that, although overall frequencies of many of the observed behaviors do not differ between groups, the general patterning of social behavior may distinguish the amygdala-lesioned animals.