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Touching the face by Sapajus libidinosus infants: recognition or strengthening of social ties?

Grant number: 21/12799-0
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Master
Effective date (Start): April 01, 2022
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Psychology - Experimental Psychology
Principal Investigator:Patrícia Izar Mauro
Grantee:Beatriz Franco Felício dos Santos
Host Institution: Instituto de Psicologia (IP). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Associated scholarship(s):22/08500-1 - Comparing the presence or absence of touch on the face by infants in primate phylogeny and in different developmental contexts, BE.EP.MS


Touch has a great impact on the healthy development of infants, especially when they are held and caressed. The slow and rhythmic touch has a relaxing effect on animals. The importance of motor control for the manipulation of objects in humans and capuchin monkeys is also known. But there is not much literature about the influence of touch made by infants on their social environment and development. Recent work has shown that by having the opportunity to investigate objects manually, capuchin monkeys learned more quickly to differentiate these objects visually. The work in question seeks to investigate the function of touching the face of adults by young capuchin monkeys (Sapajus libidinosus). Considering the role of the skin in social development and communication, we want to test two hypotheses: touching the face of others has a function of facilitating the learning of discernment of individuals visually or an affective gesture function, reinforcing social ties. For this, the project will investigate the frequency of this behavior over the first 3 years of the life of eight free-living infants, through videos available in the LEDIS data collection, as well as detailing their motor pattern and comparing it with the exploration of objects and the slow and rhythmic touches.

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