Macaque monkeys learn and perform a non-match-to-goal task using an automated home cage training procedure

Sci Rep. 2021 Jan 29;11(1):2700. doi: 10.1038/s41598-021-82021-w.


In neurophysiology, nonhuman primates represent an important model for studying the brain. Typically, monkeys are moved from their home cage to an experimental room daily, where they sit in a primate chair and interact with electronic devices. Refining this procedure would make the researchers' work easier and improve the animals' welfare. To address this issue, we used home-cage training to train two macaque monkeys in a non-match-to-goal task, where each trial required a switch from the choice made in the previous trial to obtain a reward. The monkeys were tested in two versions of the task, one in which they acted as the agent in every trial and one in which some trials were completed by a "ghost agent". We evaluated their involvement in terms of their performance and their interaction with the apparatus. Both monkeys were able to maintain a constant involvement in the task with good, stable performance within sessions in both versions of the task. Our study confirms the feasibility of home-cage training and demonstrates that even with challenging tasks, monkeys can complete a large number of trials at a high performance level, which is a prerequisite for electrophysiological studies of monkey behavior.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal / physiology*
  • Learning / physiology*
  • Macaca mulatta
  • Male
  • Motivation / physiology*