Influence of a Capuchin Monkey Companion on the Social Life of a Person with Quadriplegia: An Experimental Study

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As a consequence of a severe reduction in their autonomy, the social life of people with quadriplegia becomes highly routine. In addition, the social environment becomes very limited because people without disabilities may feel awkward around, or have an aversion to, people with quadriplegia. A pet animal often facilitates social interactions between humans, and in this study we investigated the influence of a capuchin monkey companion on the social environment of a person with quadriplegia. In three different public areas, we compared the behaviors of passers-by confronted with a person with quadriplegia or a person who had no disabilities, either alone or with a capuchin companion. In both situations the capuchin companion greatly modified the behaviors of the passers-by, inducing more positive social behaviors such as smiles, and higher frequencies of visual contact. In addition, passers-by tended to avoid the person with quadriplegia less often when the capuchin was present. The presence of a capuchin companion potentially improves the social environment of people with quadriplegia.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: June 1, 1997

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