Flexible auditory training, psychophysics, and enrichment of common marmosets with an automated, touchscreen-based system

Nat Commun. 2022 Mar 28;13(1):1648. doi: 10.1038/s41467-022-29185-9.


Devising new and more efficient protocols to analyze the phenotypes of non-human primates, as well as their complex nervous systems, is rapidly becoming of paramount importance. This is because with genome-editing techniques, recently adopted to non-human primates, new animal models for fundamental and translational research have been established. One aspect in particular, namely cognitive hearing, has been difficult to assess compared to visual cognition. To address this, we devised autonomous, standardized, and unsupervised training and testing of auditory capabilities of common marmosets with a cage-based standalone, wireless system. All marmosets tested voluntarily operated the device on a daily basis and went from naïve to experienced at their own pace and with ease. Through a series of experiments, here we show, that animals autonomously learn to associate sounds with images; to flexibly discriminate sounds, and to detect sounds of varying loudness. The developed platform and training principles combine in-cage training of common marmosets for cognitive and psychoacoustic assessment with an enriched environment that does not rely on dietary restriction or social separation, in compliance with the 3Rs principle.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Callithrix* / physiology
  • Cognition
  • Learning*
  • Psychophysics
  • Sound