Doctoral Dissertation Research: Personality, Stress Response, And Social Complexity In Primates

Project Details

Description

Personality differences appear to have many influences on the social lives and relationships of humans. Given that an individual's relationships develop from social interactions with others, and that interactions can be stressful, an important question is how personality differences in the stress response influence social relationships. This doctoral dissertation project will investigate variation in stress response in a non-human primate model, with collection of behavioral and (non-invasive) hormonal data. Understanding how variation in coping with social stress affects the social lives of primates is important in light of growing evidence that the management of both stress and social relationships influences the mental and physical health of individuals (human and non-human). This project will provide laboratory research opportunities to Rutgers undergraduate students, particularly those from groups that are underrepresented in STEM fields. Science outreach and training in conservation, ecology, and wildlife management will be provided to local communities. The results of this project will be presented at institutions of higher learning with the goal of explaining the contributions of this research and of biological anthropology to society at large. This research will investigate how wild social primates, with naturally formed long-term relationships, individually differ in how they cope with stress. The olive baboon, more behaviorally and socially complex than most non-primate models, will provide comparative data for studying stress response variation in humans. The investigator will collect behavioral and hormonal data and use network analysis to study aggression, grooming, and spatial proximity, and observe how individual baboons react to various stressful situations. The results of this work will contribute knowledge about the maintenance of social relationships, the consequences of different types of stress coping, and how these variables interact with one another. These outcomes are important for understanding how certain individuals balance the problem of coping with stress with aspects of their social lives.
StatusFinished
Effective start/end date8/1/177/31/19

Funding

  • National Science Foundation (NSF)

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