Floeter, M.K. and Greenough, W.T (1979). Cerebellar Plasticity:
Modification of Purkinje Cell Structure by Differential Rearing
in Monkeys. Science 206(12): 227-229.
Abstract: Dendritic branching in Purkinje and granule cells and the diameters of Purkinje cell somas were compared in several cerebellar areas of monkeys reared in isolation, with social experience, or in a large colony. In the colony-reared monkeys, spiny branchlets of Purkinje cells wee more extensive in the paraflocculus and the nodulus than they were in the other two groups. Granule cell dendritic branching in the paraflocculus and nodulus did not differ across groups. In addition, Purkinje cell somas were larger in the uvula and the nodulus of the colony animals than in the other groups. These data indicate that the social and physical environment during development influences the morphology of cerebellar Purkinje cells.
"The data from these cerebellar structures do not support Prescott's hypothesis (5) that cerebellar changes might underlie primate isolation syndrome behaviors, since differences were not found between monkeys reared in isolation and monkeys reared with social contact. Although monkeys reared in these two conditions behaved differently (6,12,), these differences were not reflected in any anatomical measures."
The correct interpretation of this data is that rearing primates with limited social contact produces animals similar to isolation-reared primates. The social rearing conditions employed by the authors does not approximate the wild environment of feral reared primates and thus all three rearing conditions can be considered variants of somatosensory deprivation. Limited cerebellar evaluations and sample size are other limiting factors in the study. The conclusion of the authors that "these data do not support Prescott's hypothesis (5) that cerebellar changes might underlie primate isolation syndrome behaviors" is inconsistent with the findings from the laboratories of Heath; Riesen; Berman, Berman and Prescott; Byran and others that have found cerebellar damage consequent to mother-infant separation--jwp