Studies in Primate Pair-bonding and Parenting

Titi monkeys (Callicebus cupreus) are a monogamous New World monkey.  They display the traits of social monogamy, including a preference for a familiar partner and distress upon separation.  In the wild, titi monkey pair-mates spend most of their time within sight of each other and a lot of it in physical contact with their tails twined.

In our lab we use non-invasive imaging to examine the neurobiology of social bonding in this species. We especially take a developmental approach to examining both maturational changes in social bonding and brain activity as well as situational changes determined by the presence or absence of an attachment figure. 

Figure 1. Titi monkey PET image at the level of the hippocampus.


This material is based upon work supported by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, grant HD053555 to Karen L. Bales, Sally P. Mendoza, and William A. Mason.  This work is also supported by the Good Nature Institute.