Behaviour Management and Training of
Laboratory non-human Primates and Large
Laboratory Animals (CA15131)

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Providing Evidence

Basic Readings for Beginners


Heather Slater et al.: Individually Customisable Non-Invasive Head Immobilisation System for Non-Human Primates with an Option for Voluntary Engagement
doi: 10.1016/j.jneumeth.2016.05.009
Friday 12 April, 2019 from 04:00 to 05:00 pm (GMT+1) 
Heather Slater and her team from Newcastle University had recently developed a revolutionary refinement method for head immobilisation for eye tracking and fMRI recording in Rhesus macaques using positive reinforcement techniques. During this Journal Club, Heather, will talk through the implementation of this method and the training techniques used for their success.
Heather Slater was a PhD student and Research Assistant in the Institute of Neuroscience of the Newcastle University ( She additionally worked on a project looking at the integration of audio and visual spatial attention in rhesus macaques.
Request her presentation [pdf] [here]

Emily Bethell et al.: Cognitive bias to assess psychological wellbeing in non-humans primates. How can we move from theory to practice?
doi: 10.7120/09627286.21.2.185
23rd May 2018 from 04:00 to 05:00 pm (GMT+1)
During this webinar Emily talked through the traditional cognitive bias method developed to measure 'optimism' and 'pessimism' in nonhuman primates (Bethell et al. 2012). A challenge facing welfare scientists is how to apply what we learn from experiments to develop tools that can be used in real world settings. She discussed the pros and cons of the cognitive bias methodology for application in primate facilities and identified future directions.
Emily Bethell is a Senior Lecturer in Primate Behaviour at the Liverpool John Moores University ( and she is working on the study of animal emotions and cognition since 1997.
Request a video of the lecture [here]

Karolina Westlund presenting Wergård et al.:Training pair-housed Rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta) using a combination of negative and positive reinforcement in Behavioural Processes 113 · December 2014
doi: 10.1016/j.beproc.2014.12.008
1st of November 2016 at the PRIMTRAIN Opening Conference in Göttingen.
When training animals, time is sometimes a limiting factor hampering the use of positive reinforcement training (PRT) exclusively. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of a combination of negative and positive reinforcement training (NPRT). Twenty naïve female Rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta) were trained in 30 sessions with either PRT (n = 8) or NPRT (n = 12) to respond to a signal, move into a selected cage section and accept confinement. In the NPRT-group a signal preceded the presentation of one or several novel, and thus aversive, stimuli. When the correct behaviour was performed, the novel stimulus was removed and treats were given. As the animal learned to perform the correct behaviour, the use of novel stimuli was decreased and finally phased out completely. None of the PRT-trained animals finished the task. Ten out of 12 monkeys in the NPRT-group succeeded to perform the task within the 30 training sessions, a significant difference from the PRT-group (p = 0.0007). A modified approach test showed no significant difference between the groups (p = 0.67) in how they reacted to the trainer. The results from this study suggest that carefully conducted NPRT can be an alternative training method to consider, especially when under a time constraint.

This was a conference lecture. Unfortunately, no video available.