University of California, Davis (UCD)

1 Shields Ave, Davis California 95616

Titi Monkeys

Studies in Primate Pair-bonding and Parenting

Titi monkeys (Plecturocebus cupreus) are a pair-bonding South American monkey.  Pair bonding is a psychological construct that  includes showing a preference for a familiar partnerdistress upon separation, and the ability of the partner to buffer their pair-mate against stressors.  In the wild and in the lab, titi monkey pair-mates spend most of their time within sight of each other and a lot of it in physical contact with their tails twined.

In our lab, we use different non-invasive imaging techniques to examine the neurobiology of social bonding in this species. Some of our interests include:

  • Social buffering and social isolation: how oxytocin and kappa opioid receptors interact in the context of separation and social buffering;
  • Vocal and visual communication: how communication modalities allow for and interact with the formation and maintenance of pair bonds;
  • Cognition: how cognition in titi monkeys changes as they form and maintain pair bonds over time and aging;
  • Compatibility and pair bondinghow pairing monkeys based on compatibility can lead to an increase in post-pairing affiliation.
Titi monkey research is funded by NIMH (MH125411); the Good Nature Institute; the Dawn French Family Institute; and the Office of Research Infrastructure Programs (ORIP) of the National Institutes of Health through Award Number P51OD011107 to the California National Primate Research Center.