fMRI in alert, behaving monkeys: An adaptation of the human infant familiarization novelty preference procedure

Jane E. Joseph, David K. Powell, Anders H. Andersen, Ramesh S. Bhatt, Michael K. Dunlap, Stephen T. Foldes, Eric Forman, Peter A. Hardy, Nicholas A. Steinmetz, Zhiming Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) is increasingly used in non-human primate research. In the present study, we adapt the familiarization-novelty preference (FNP) procedure used in human infant research to examine visual behavior in alert, unanaesthetized rhesus monkeys that were acclimated to the fMRI environment, but did not undergo behavioral training. In keeping with the typical FNP paradigm, we recorded eye movements (looking time and number of fixations) while monkeys viewed a series of four identical pictures (familiarization phase) followed by two different pictures (novelty phase). Number of fixations and looking time both increased during the novelty phase, thereby demonstrating visual discrimination of the new from the old picture. Importantly, discrimination did not occur on catch trials in which six identical pictures were presented. Moreover, brain activation in the amygdala was more strongly associated with the novelty phase than with the familiarization phase. In addition, magnitude of brain activation in the amygdala was correlated with the behavioral effect of visual discrimination. These findings demonstrate the feasibility of using eye movements as an index of visual discrimination in untrained monkeys during fMRI scanning. This methodological approach helps to extend the repertoire of research tools for fMRI in non-human primates.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10-24
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Neuroscience Methods
Issue number1
StatePublished - Oct 15 2006

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by grants from the National Science Foundation (BCS-0224240) and the National Institutes of Health (R01 MH063817; R01 HD04245; P01 AG13494). We thank Christine Corbly, Ann Gathers, Rachel Smalley and Adam Weidner for their technical assistance. We also thank Mike Bardo for his feedback on an earlier draft of this manuscript, Josh Borah for his technical input, and Don Gash for his helpful input during various phases of this project.


  • Non-human primates
  • Novelty detection
  • Visual discrimination
  • fMRI

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience (all)


Dive into the research topics of 'fMRI in alert, behaving monkeys: An adaptation of the human infant familiarization novelty preference procedure'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this