Behavioral Research Blog

How to study ataxia

Posted by G. Smit on Jul 3, 2015 12:00:00 PM

Gait and motor performance are studied extensively in neuroscience research, which is not surprising when you come to think of it, because it is affected in many neurological diseases. Ataxia is a common problem in Parkinson’s disease (PD), and many early onset Alzheimer’s disease patients (AD) also deal with it. Motor skills are also affected in patients with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

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Topics: Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's Disease, gait analysis, ErasmusLadder, motor learning, reflexive motor learning, motor performance, cerebellum, motor control

Alcohol makes men smile

Posted by Annelies Verkerk on Jul 1, 2015 8:46:35 AM

“Smokers Wanted.”  That’s exactly the statement I read in the Pitt News, the daily student newspaper of the University of Pittsburgh. U Pitt’s Alcohol and Smoking Research Lab was looking for study participants, and at this specific laboratory, “Smokers Wanted” is not an unusual request. Some time ago the lab recruited around 700 (!) participants for a drinking behavior study.

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Topics: The Observer XT, video observation, Observation lab

Why not let calves choose? The dietary preferences of calves

Posted by Guest blogger on Jun 29, 2015 3:05:00 PM

Today, we are proud to have another guest blogger! Laura Webb has done some interesting research on the dietary preferences of calves and honored us with a blog post! Also, there is a free case study available at the end of this post!

Calves, whether raised for milk or meat production, are typically fed diets that differ from diets of feral cattle herds. For example, veal calves receive large quantities of milk replacer and solid feed with little structure to chew on, while dairy calves are weaned off milk early on and receive mostly solid feed. Diets typically fed to calves can cause a number of welfare problems, including poor stomach health as well as stress due to the inability to perform highly-motivated natural behaviours such as rumination or sucking on a teat. Furthermore, there is much research indicating that animals, and in particular ruminants, are able to select a balanced diet and maximise their comfort. So why not let calves choose?

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Topics: The Observer XT, video observation, Cows, Pocket Observer, feeding behavior,, stereotypies

3 studies to get you in the mood for the European Zebrafish Meeting in Oslo

Posted by G. Smit on Jun 26, 2015 12:00:00 PM

It is almost time for the 9th European Zebrafish Meeting in Oslo, Norway! So here are a couple of recent publications on zebrafish research to get you in the mood.

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Topics: EthoVision XT, Video tracking, zebrafish, Danio rerio, DanioVision, anxiety research, novel tank test, shoaling behavior

Can you tell me why I liked it?

Posted by Patrick Zimmerman on Jun 23, 2015 4:29:00 PM

By Patrick H. Zimmerman, PhD

I was second in line at the pay desk of a Dutch department store. The man in front of me was carrying four coffee mugs in his hands and approached the counter. As he was ready to pay for the mugs, the woman behind the counter told him: “You know you get a 50% discount on these mugs when you bring your own shopping bag?” The man had not brought his own shopping bag. He looked at the woman for a second, briskly put the mugs on the counter and snapped at the woman: “Here, you can keep them!” before scampering off.

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Topics: consumer behavior, consumer behavior research

A new approach in the battle against malaria

Posted by Olga Krips on Jun 18, 2015 12:00:00 PM

Insecticide treated bed nets

Bed nets treated with insecticide (ITNs) greatly decrease malaria illness and mortality. ITNs can decrease infant mortality from all causes by more than 20% [1,2]. However, the development of pesticide resistance is a threat to the effectiveness of ITNs. [3].

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Topics: EthoVision XT, Video tracking, Mosquito, wind tunnel

Behavioral Techniques to Empower Consumers: Resisting Persuasion by Controlling Your Facial Expressions

Posted by Guest blogger on Jun 15, 2015 10:19:00 AM

Over a period of 30 months, Peter Lewinski, Research Fellow at the University of Amsterdam and VicarVision B.V., carried out 12 experiments with an automated facial expression coding software called FaceReader Online. This new neuromarketing technology helped him to test more than 1200 facial emotional reactions to dozens of famous advertisements. The experiments yielded 1 million frames that provided more than 10 million data points to analyze on variables such as emotions of happiness, sadness, anger, surprise, fear, disgust, contempt or valence, arousal, and attention.

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Topics: emotion recognition, FaceReader, facial expression analysis, emotions

Bonobos not always as tolerant as generally believed: the plot thickens…

Posted by Guest blogger on Jun 4, 2015 12:03:00 PM

A guest blog post by Jeroen MG Stevens & Katherine A Cronin

Bonobos (Pan paniscus) are the least well known of the great apes, discovered only in 1929. Often they are contrasted with their closest relatives: the chimpanzees. In a common dichotomous view, chimpanzees are portrayed as brutal, aggressive, and demonic, while bonobos are portrayed as nice, peaceful, and hedonistic.

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Topics: The Observer XT, social behavior research, bonobos, apes

The man in the maze: A behavioral science journey into consumer studies

Posted by Jason Rogers on May 20, 2015 4:38:00 PM

By Jason Rogers, Ph.D.

As a researcher, one of my biggest thrills was being able to predict how someone was going to behave, especially without asking him or her. This was a learned skill, forged in the long hours of maze-running on the 11th floor of the Behavioral Science Building at the University of Utah. You see, you cannot ask a rat how he solved a maze, but with a clever design and an observant eye, you just know how he did. It was especially amazing to watch that moment of insight, of AH-HA, when he just ‘got it’ and started running perfectly. But in order to truly understand that moment, I had to have my own AH-HA moment, and it happened five thousand miles from my mazes in Utah.

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Topics: emotion recognition, FaceReader, facial expression analysis, consumer behavior, consumer behavior research, emotions

Universal emotions part two

Posted by Annelies Verkerk on May 8, 2015 3:03:00 PM

Broadening horizons. That is what the students (age 14-17) of School at Sea do, literally. Starting in The Netherlands, they sail to the Caribbean and back in six months. During this voyage, they learn to develop their talents and leadership skills. How do they perceive this journey? One of the students (Hannah @ Sea) has chosen to share her 'emotional journey' with us.

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Topics: emotion recognition, FaceReader, facial expression analysis, emotions

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