A naturalistic environment to study visual cognition in unrestrained monkeys
Macaque monkeys are widely used to study vision. In the traditional approach, monkeys are brought into a lab to perform visual tasks while they are restrained to obtain stable eye tracking and neural recordings. Here, we describe a novel environment to study visual cognition in a more natural setting as well as other natural and social behaviors. We designed a naturalistic environment with an integrated touchscreen workstation that enables high-quality eye tracking in unrestrained monkeys. We used this environment to train monkeys on a challenging same-different task. We also show that this environment can reveal interesting novel social behaviors. As proof of concept, we show that two naïve monkeys were able to learn this complex task through a combination of socially observing trained monkeys and through solo trial-and-error. We propose that such naturalistic environments can be used to rigorously study visual cognition as well as other natural and social behaviors in freely moving monkeys.
All data required to reproduce the results in the study are available at https://osf.io/5764q/
Article and author information
DBT-Wellcome Trust India Alliance (IA/S/17/1/503081)
- SP Arun
ICMR Senior Research Fellowship
- Thomas Cherian
UGC Senior Research Fellowship
- Jhilik Das
DST Cognitive Science Research Initiative
- Harish Katti
MHRD Senior Research Fellowship
- Georgin Jacob
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
Animal experimentation: All procedures were in accordance to experimental protocols approved by the Institutional Animal Ethics Committee of the Indian Institute of Science (CAF/Ethics/399/2014 & CAF/Ethics/750/2020) and by the Committee for the Purpose of Control and Supervision of Experiments on Animals, Government of India (25/61/2015-CPCSEA & V-11011(3)/15/2020-CPCSEA-DADF).
- Miriam Spering, The University of British Columbia, Canada
- Preprint posted: September 28, 2020 (view preprint)
- Received: October 8, 2020
- Accepted: November 24, 2021
- Accepted Manuscript published: November 25, 2021 (version 1)
- Version of Record published: December 15, 2021 (version 2)
- Version of Record updated: December 24, 2021 (version 3)
© 2021, Jacob et al.
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.
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