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Author Notes:

Corresponding author: Jessica Raper jraper@emory.edu

Authors are grateful to Amy Henry and Trina Villarreal for their invaluable assistance with mother–infant reunions, reintroductions to the social groups, and data collection.

Special thanks to all members of the Bachevalier Laboratory who helped with the neuroimaging and surgical procedures on the infant monkeys.

We also thank Rebecca Herman, Ph.D., for her assistance in programming and data extraction.


Research Funding:

This research was supported by the National Institute for Mental Health (MH050268).

The studies were also supported in part by the Center for Behavioral Neuroscience (NSF IBN 9876754), and Integrated Training in Psychobiology and Psychopathology Fellowship (NIMH T32 MH732525), as well as by the National Center for Research Resources to the Yerkes National Research Center (P51 RR00165; YNRC Base grant), which is currently supported by the Office of Research Infrastructure Programs/OD P51OD11132.


  • Science & Technology
  • Social Sciences
  • Life Sciences & Biomedicine
  • Developmental Biology
  • Psychology
  • development
  • sex difference
  • maternal
  • fear
  • reward
  • Macaca mulatta

Neonatal Amygdala Lesions Alter Mother-Infant Interactions in Rhesus Monkeys Living in a Species-Typical Social Environment


Journal Title:

Developmental Psychobiology


Volume 56, Number 8


, Pages 1711-1722

Type of Work:

Article | Post-print: After Peer Review


The current study examined the effects of neonatal amygdala lesions on mother-infant interactions in rhesus monkeys reared in large species-typical social groups. Focal observations of mother-infant interactions were collected in their social group for the first 12 months postpartum on infants that had received amygdala lesions (Neo-A) at 24-25 days of age and control infants. Early amygdala lesions resulted in subtle behavioral alterations. Neo-A females exhibited earlier emergence of independence from the mother than did control females, spending more time away from their mother, whereas Neo-A males did not. Also, a set of behaviors, including coo vocalizations, time in contact, and time away from the mother, accurately discriminated Neo-A females from control females, but not Neo-A and control males. Data suggest that neonatal amygdalectomy either reduced fear, therefore increasing exploration in females, or reduced the positive reward value of maternal contact. Unlike females, neonatal amygdala lesions had little measurable effects on male mother-infant interactions. The source of this sex difference is unknown.

Copyright information:

© 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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