Influence of the Maternal Surrogate on Pituitary–Adrenal Activity and Behavior of Infant Squirrel Monkeys

Document Type


Publication Date



Squirrel monkey infants reared on surrogates showed an increase in vocalizations, but no change in plasma cortisol levels when the surrogate was removed from the home cage for .5 hr. When the infant was exposed to novelty during separation, there was a further increase in vocalizations, as well as increases in movement and plasma cortisol. Placing the surrogate with the infant in the novel environment reduced the behavioral reaction and led to high levels of infant-surrogate contact; however, plasma cortisol levels were as high at .5 hr as when the infant was in the novel environment alone. With longer (2–4 hr) exposures to the novel room, cortisol elevations were attenuated by the presence of the surrogate. When the infant was alone, levels of cortisol, but not protest behavior, increased with length of exposure to the novel room. These results indicate that the physiological reaction to separation procedures in infant primates may not be safely inferred from behavioral responses, and, together with earlier findings, suggest a deficiency in the attachment of surrogate-reared infants.



Find in your library

Off-Campus WSU Users