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Appears in Collections:Psychology Book Chapters and Sections
Title: Habituating primates: Processes, techniques, variables and ethics
Author(s): Williamson, Elizabeth A
Feistner, Anna
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Editor(s): Setchell, J M
Curtis, D J
Citation: Williamson EA & Feistner A (2003) Habituating primates: Processes, techniques, variables and ethics. In: Setchell JM & Curtis DJ (eds.) Field and Laboratory Methods in Primatology: A Practical Guide. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 25-39.
Keywords: Animal behavior Research
Human-animal relationships
Issue Date: 2003
Date Deposited: 21-May-2009
Abstract: First paragraph: Field biologists adopted the term habituation from physiology, as the relatively persistent waning of a response as a result of repeated stimulation that is not followed by any kind of reinforcement (Thorpe, 1963). Repeated neutral contacts between non-human primates (hereafter called primates in this chapter) and humans can lead to a reduction in fear, and ultimately to the ignoring of an observer. The techniques and processes involved have only rarely been described (e.g. Schaller, 1963; Kummer, 1995), as habituation has generally been viewed as a means to an end (Tutin & Fernandez, 1991). The few studies that have quantified primate behaviour in relation to habituators describe the process with African great apes (Grieser Johns, 1996; van Krunkelsven et al., 1999; Blom et al., 2001). As we become increasingly aware of the potential effects of observer presence on primate behaviour, and especially the potential risks of close proximity with humans, it behoves us to measure as much as possible about the habituation process.
Rights: 'Habituating primates: Processes, techniques, variables and ethics' in Field and Laboratory Methods in Primatology: A Practical Guide, 2003. © Cambridge University Press 2003. Details of Field and Laboratory Methods in Primatology: A Practical Guide can be found online at:

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