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The Language Research Center's Computerized Test System for environmental enrichment and psychological assessmentIn the spring of 1987, we undertook to provide environmental enrichment to nonhuman primate subjects in ways that would complement and even contribute to the bio-behaviorial science that justified the monkeys' captivity. Of course, the psychological well-being of captive primates--and indeed all research species-- has been an area of intense research activity since the 1985 amendment of the Animal Welfare Act. This mandate for researchers to ensure the psychological, as well as physical, fitness of experimental animals catalyzed the humane and scientific interests of the research community. The contemporary literature is replete with proposed means both of assaying and of providing enrichment and well-being. Notwithstanding, consensus on either assessment or intervention has yet to be reached. The paradigm we employed was modelled after successful efforts with chimpanzees. An automated test system was constructed in which subjects responded to computer tasks by manipulating a joystick. The tasks, interactive game-like versions of many of the classic testing paradigms of cognitive and comparative psychology, permitted the controlled presentation of stimuli and demands without the required presence of a human experimenter. Despite significant barriers to the success, rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta) and a variety of other primate species (including, of course, humans) have mastered the skills necessary for testing in this paradigm. Previous experiments have illustrated the utility of the test system for addressing questions of learning, memory, attention, perception, and motivation. Additional data have been reported to support the contention that the Language Research Center's Computerized Test System (LRC-CTS) serves its other raison d'etre--providing environmental enrichment and assessing psychological well-being. This paper is designed to augment previous descriptions of the technology and the paradigm for scientists and caretakers interested in environmental enrichment and performance assessment with primates.
Document ID
Document Type
Reprint (Version printed in journal)
Washburn, D. A. (Georgia State University Atlanta 30303, United States)
Rumbaugh, D. M.
Richardson, W. K.
Date Acquired
August 21, 2013
Publication Date
November 1, 1992
Publication Information
Publication: Contemporary topics in laboratory animal science / American Association for Laboratory Animal Science
Volume: 31
Issue: 6
ISSN: 1060-0558
Subject Category
Behavioral Sciences
Funding Number(s)
Distribution Limits
Non-NASA Center
NASA Discipline Number 00-00
NASA Discipline Number 06-10
NASA Discipline Space Human Factors