Novelty-seeking temperament is defined as the reaction to novel or risk situations and objects, and by the global disposition to explore such stimuli. Our purpose was to describe and compare this trait in primates. For this purpose, a risk-taking Index, a curiosity index, and a novelty-seeking index were correlated to several biosocial variables using 22 captive stumptail macaques (Macaca arctoides) and 7 captive spider monkeys (Ateles geoffroyi). Spider monkeys scored higher than macaques, males of both species scored higher than females, and dominant macaques were evaluated as more novelty seekers. We suggest that these differences may be because of, among other reasons, the particular social system of each species.