Shown here is one of the monkeys used by the USD medical school for research on the effects of radiation. During the early 1950s, defense-related studies were also being conducted in the math, physics, and psychology departments.
In 1951, Dr. Roger T. Davis of the psychology department received a grant from the National Institutes of Health to study the effects of radiation on monkeys. The Asian monkeys were trained for a year at the University before receiving radiation. The training began with simple tests such as object recognition and progressed to more difficult tests, such as puzzle manipulation. After a year of training, the monkeys were taken to Sacred Heart Hospital in Yankton, South Dakota, to receive radiation treatments. The monkeys were divided into three groups: a group that received severe radiation, a group that received moderate radiation, and a group that did not receive any radiation, serving as a control group. After the monkeys received radiation, they returned to the University to perform tests they had learned during their training period. In a 1952 Volante article, Dr. Davis explained that monkeys were used in such research because they were “…a cheap, hardy, and easily handled animal; the results of an experiment using the monkey may be more easily applied to humans than would experiments performed with lower animals.”
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