Research at the University of Zürich
Primate research at the University of Zurich has contributed to studies of brain function for many decades. Past areas of studies included understanding the anatomy and physiology of hand, arm, and eye movements, or of the sense of balance and visual perception.
Current studies with rhesus macaques are focused on three areas of research:
Understanding the contribution of prefrontal cortex to the cognition. We study cognitive processes like our ability to distinguish relevant vs. irrelevant information, and how we apply such information to reach a decision. Such cognitive processes are impaired in several psychiatric disorders, for example schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
Understanding the contribution of social influences onto the behavior of individual monkeys. We study the natural, unconstrained behavior of a group of monkeys in a large enclosure (link to movie of enclosure). Social influences are a key factor determining the well-being or stress-level in primates, whether monkeys or humans.
Development of refinements for experimental procedures in neuroscience research with primates (3R research). We exploit advances in technology and artificial intelligence to conduct experiments in more unconstrained and natural settings, which have less potential to cause stress or other burdens.