Rapid head movements in common marmoset monkeys

  • Yi Zhou (Contributor)



Gaze shifts, the directing of the eyes to an approaching predator, preferred food source, or potential mate, have universal biological significance for the survival of a species. Our knowledge of gaze behavior in primates is based primarily on visually triggered orienting responses, whereas head orientation triggered by auditory stimuli remains poorly characterized. Common marmoset (Callithrix jacchus) is a diurnal, small-bodied (~350 g), New World monkey species, known for their rich behavioral repertoires during social interactions. We used a lightweight head tracking system to measure marmosets’ reflexive head orientations toward a natural stimulus presented from behind. We found that marmoset could rotate its head at angular velocities above 1000 degrees/second, and maintained target accuracy for a wide range of rotation amplitudes (up to 250 degrees). This unusual, saccadic head orienting behavior offers opportunities for understanding the many biological factors that have shaped the evolution of sensorimotor controls of gaze orientation by the primate brain.
This dataset contains all the original measurements of peak velocity and amplitude of head movements in two marmoset monkeys.
Date made availableJan 26 2020
PublisherMendeley Data

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