Behavior is a general and universal thing. To state it simply: behavior is the way a person or animal acts in a particular situation/environment. As ways to behave are numerous and we are a curious species, people have been measuring behavior for centuries now. So, why is measuring behavior awesome? These 3 examples prove it.
What do you do when you want to think things over? In what position or environment are you when you get the best idea ever - in the shower, pacing up and down? Riding on your bike watching people go by, or enjoying the beautiful nature around you? Do you get in motion to organize your thoughts, or can you stay still sitting on a chair? And how does that affect your work habits? How do you stay active and productive?
I was waiting for my exam results, and so was the son of our neighbors. And then there was a bang. A really loud one. I could guess the outcome of his exam simply by hearing that bang.
For a few years now, optogenetics has been the answer to shortcomings of using pharmaceuticals or electrodes in brain research. The temporal and spatial precision of optogenetic methods rapidly produced many new insights into neural networks in the normal and diseased brain. But like any other methodology, optogenetics also has limitations. Although wireless options have been developed, optogenetics means neuronal control by light, and delivering this light to the selected brain cells is still an invasive method (unless you are using larval zebrafish). Additionally, the method can be difficult to scale up, including to more neurons, deeper brain tissues, or larger brains.
Last week I had a chat with a friend of mine whose eldest son (8 years old) was diagnosed several years ago with Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD). She told me about a conversation she and her husband had with a speech therapist, who explained to them that when someone asks their son a question or tells him something to do, it usually takes 7 seconds before his brain processed this information. Imagine that, 7 seconds – that’s quite a lot. In those 7 seconds many other words can be said or questions can be asked. But for this little boy it means that it is important to speak slowly and give one instruction at a time, or you will likely get little to no response, or only partial task completion.
When there is a lack of understanding, you don’t realize that he needs this time to see the whole picture. When you have to deal with this over and over again, every single day, you can become very frustrated and annoyed by the child’s seeming failure to understand, or worse, lack of desire to listen.
Half a year ago, I wrote about rats on the CatWalk XT system, and we added a great white paper written by Kristina Ängeby Möller to the collection. Today, I am very excited to tell you that Marcella Cline (University of Washington) and Dr. Donna Cross (University of Utah) are so kind to share their insights on working with mice on the CatWalk XT system in both a blog post and a white paper. Enjoy!
We’re looking forward to the 16th Biennial Meeting of the Society for Research on Adolescence which will start tomorrow. It will be held in Baltimore, Maryland. The general program sessions will begin at 8:30am tomorrow and conclude at 5:15pm on Saturday.
By Marret K. Noordewier, PhD – Leiden University
Are you interested in using automatic facial expression analysis with FaceReader software in a standardized lab setting? Here are some tips to consider in addition to Leanne Loijens’ tips to optimize facial expression analyses.
The Zebrafish Multi-Chambered Exploratory Test (ZEMCET)
Today we have another guest writing for us, or actually two. I met Frank Scalzo (Bard College, New York) at last year's annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience in Chicago and I was very curious to find out more about their research using multi-chambered set-ups for their zebrafish larvae. Frank M. Scalzo and his colleague Brandon Chen were kind enough to share their insights in this blog post. Enjoy!
This week we have a guest blog post from Dr. Lora Becker. She is Director of the Neuroscience Program at the University of Evansville. Her primary research activity seeks to understand human and animal emotions. Thank you Lora for the knowledge and enthusiasm you share in this blog!