Physiological Responses to parental separation and a strange situation are related to parental care received in juvenile Goeldi's monkeys (Callimico goeldii)

Dev Psychobiol. 1998 Jul;33(1):21-31. doi: 10.1002/(sici)1098-2302(199807)33:1<21::aid-dev3>;2-u.


The relationship between parental care received and physiological and behavioral responses to parental separation, isolation, and reunion was investigated in seven juvenile Goeldi's monkey living in their family groups. Physiological responses were measured non-invasively: the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis via urinary cortisol output and the autonomic nervous system via piloerection on the tail. Parent-infant aggression demonstrated high intergroup variation and predicted: (a) an increase in urinary cortisol output, r(s) = 0.86, p = 0.04, and duration of piloerection, r(s) = 0.71, p = 0.08, at initial separation-isolation; (b) adaptation of piloerection, r(s) = -0.89, p = 0.03, to repeated separation-isolation. Juvenile Goeldi's monkeys that had received high parental aggression were more physiologically responsive to separation; they also sought more contact with their mothers at reunion, rs = 0.93, p = 0.02. We propose that these data are consistent with the hypothesis that high emotional reactivity is related to insecure attachment to aggressive parents in this New world primate.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal / physiology
  • Callimico / physiology
  • Environment*
  • Female
  • Hydrocortisone / urine*
  • Hypothalamo-Hypophyseal System / physiology*
  • Male
  • Object Attachment*
  • Piloerection / physiology*
  • Pituitary-Adrenal System / physiology*
  • Tail / physiology


  • Hydrocortisone