Forty mother-infant dyads of Japanese macaques, Macaca fuscata, living in a confined group were observed throughout the first 12 weeks of the infants' lives to identify the sources of variation in mother-infant relationships. To summarize mother and infant behaviour in a few basic behavioural dimensions, a multivariate analysis was employed. Principal component analysis extracted three factors that were labelled Infant Activity, Maternal Protectiveness and Maternal Rejection. Mother's age and matriline size both affected the quality of the mother-infant relationship. Older mothers were less protective towards their infants and mothers belonging to larger matrilines showed a higher frequency of rejection. Maternal experience had a minor influence on mother-infant relationships, whereas infant sex, maternal dominance rank, and the number of immature offspring present in the group had no effect on mother-infant relationships. In spite of the large number of variables investigated, the attributes of the mother-infant pair explained only a limited proportion of variation in the sample. A possible reason is that the mother's emotional reactivity, a variable not considered in this study, is a major factor in shaping monkey maternal behaviour.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Animal Science and Zoology
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics