Decrease in nasal temperature of rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta) in negative emotional state

Physiol Behav. 2005 Apr 13;84(5):783-90. doi: 10.1016/j.physbeh.2005.03.009. Epub 2005 Apr 12.


We established an infrared thermographic system for the detection of emotion-related temperature changes in rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta). We continuously measured temperatures of various facial regions of four rhesus monkeys during the presentation of a potentially 'threatening' person, i.e., a person in a laboratory coat with a catching net, who entered the experimental room and approached the monkeys. The temperatures were also measured before and after the presentation of the 'stimulation period.' The temperature of the nasal region decreased significantly within 10-30 s, and continued to decrease throughout the stimulation period. During this period, the monkeys frequently expressed silent bared-teeth face, staring open-mouth face, and lip-smacking, all of which were expressions of a negative emotion. Assuming that the monkeys experience the negative emotion when viewing the potentially threatening stimulus, we conclude that the decrease in nasal skin temperature is relevant to the alteration of the emotional state. The present findings suggest that nasal temperature can be a reliable and accurate indicator of a change from neutral to negative in emotional state of non-human primates.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Body Temperature / physiology*
  • Emotions / physiology*
  • Facial Expression
  • Female
  • Macaca mulatta
  • Nasal Cavity / physiology*
  • Nose / physiology*
  • Skin Temperature / physiology
  • Thermometers