Learning in Adult and Infant Monkeys: A comparative Study
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The experimental question asked in this study was whether infant monkeys learn faster than adult monkeys. To address this question, we used two adult male cynomolgus and two infant rhesus monkeys. These monkeys were trained on delayed nonmatching-to-sample (DNMS) tasks in the visual modality with the adult's task being more difficult than the infants. All the monkeys were tested to a criterion of 90% correct responses in 100 trials. The oldest and largest adult male monkey never reached criterion. However, the three other monkeys did reach criterion. The other adult male monkey went on to do the task in the tactual modality and the two infant monkeys, after 14 days of rest, relearned their task in less than half the time it had taken originally. Our results demonstrate that infant monkeys learn at a significantly faster rate than had adults. This experiment was important because it showed that different age groups of monkeys should be studied as separate experiment groups and no comparisons should be made between them without first correcting for result differences caused only by age.