Early socioemotional intervention mediates long-term effects of atypical rearing on structural covariation in gray matter in adult chimpanzees

Kim Bard, William D. Hopkins

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Abstract

Atypical rearing has deleterious effects on chimpanzee behavior during development, some of which can be ameliorated with a responsive care intervention (RCI). Here, we obtained in vivo magnetic resonance images of adult brains of 27 chimpanzees given institutional care, with and without RCI, and compared them with those of 16 chimpanzees mother-reared from birth. We found significant long-term rearing effects on structural covariation and gray matter volume, specifically in the basal forebrain (i.e., caudate, putamen, nucleus accumbens, rectus gyrus, and orbital prefrontal cortex), indicating that RCI prevented brain changes due to atypical rearing. A significant correlation between covariation in these brain areas and caregiver nurturing, experienced in the first month of life, suggests a possible developmental mechanism for the effect of early experience on brain networks. We identified an early intervention that prevents changes in the basal forebrain that otherwise emerge as a consequence of institutionalized rearing without species-typical socioemotional experiences.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)594-603
JournalPsychological Science
Volume29
Issue number4
Early online date30 Jan 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2018

Keywords

  • great apes
  • brain
  • institutionalization
  • nuturing experiences
  • source-based morphometry

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