Format

Send to

Choose Destination
Anim Behav. 2015 May 1;103:267-275.

Genetic influences on social attention in free-ranging rhesus macaques.

Author information

1
Institute for Cognitive Science, University of Colorado at Boulder, Boulder, CO, U.S.A.
2
Center for Cognitive Neuroscience, Duke University, Durham, NC, U.S.A. ; Duke Institute for Brain Sciences, Duke University, Durham, NC, U.S.A.
3
Center for Cognitive Neuroscience, Duke University, Durham, NC, U.S.A. ; Duke Institute for Brain Sciences, Duke University, Durham, NC, U.S.A. ; Centre for Research in Animal Behaviour, College of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Exeter, U.K.
4
Nature Research Center, Museum of Natural Sciences, Raleigh, NC, U.S.A. ; Department of Biology, North Carolina Central University, Durham, NC, U.S.A. ; Department of Evolutionary Anthropology, Duke University, Durham, NC, U.S.A.
5
Caribbean Primate Research Center, University of Puerto Rico, Punta Santiago, PR, U.S.A.
6
Department of Neurobiology, Duke University, Research Drive, Durham, NC, U.S.A.
7
Center for Cognitive Neuroscience, Duke University, Durham, NC, U.S.A. ; Duke Institute for Brain Sciences, Duke University, Durham, NC, U.S.A. ; Department of Evolutionary Anthropology, Duke University, Durham, NC, U.S.A. ; Department of Neurobiology, Duke University, Research Drive, Durham, NC, U.S.A. ; Department of Psychology & Neuroscience, Duke University, Durham, NC, U.S.A.

Abstract

An ethological approach to attention predicts that organisms orient preferentially to valuable sources of information in the environment. For many gregarious species, orienting to other individuals provides valuable social information but competes with food acquisition, water consumption and predator avoidance. Individual variation in vigilance behaviour in humans spans a continuum from inattentive to pathological levels of interest in others. To assess the comparative biology of this behavioural variation, we probed vigilance rates in free-ranging macaques during water drinking, a behaviour incompatible with the gaze and postural demands of vigilance. Males were significantly more vigilant than females. Moreover, vigilance showed a clear genetic component, with an estimated heritability of 12%. Monkeys carrying a relatively infrequent 'long' allele of TPH2, a regulatory gene that influences serotonin production in the brain, were significantly less vigilant compared to monkeys that did not carry the allele. These findings resonate with the hypothesis that the serotonin pathway regulates vigilance in primates and by extension provoke the idea that individual variation in vigilance and its underlying biology may be adaptive rather than pathological.

KEYWORDS:

Macaca mulatta; TPH2; neuroethology; primate; rhesus macaque; serotonin pathway; social attention; vigilance

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center