Behavioral Research Blog

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

A new method to evaluate if dogs are suitable for IED bomb detection

Posted by Linda Hoekstra on May 7, 2015 3:01:24 PM

Military dogs, especially improvised explosive device (IED)-detection dogs, work in war zones under harsh conditions. Being attuned to fear-inducing sounds and recovering quickly is a critical requirement. Margaret Gruen and her colleagues recently investigated a new method to assess sound induced fear and anxiety in candidate IED-detection dogs – specifically, Labrador retrievers.  

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Topics: EthoVision XT, dogs, open field test, anxiety research, physiology, fear research

Alzheimer's: prevent instead of cure? Groundbreaking research and animal models

Posted by G. Smit on Apr 23, 2015 1:00:00 PM

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a huge public health issue as it affects a large part of the aging population. By 2050, experts estimate this number will exceed 100 million worldwide. Those of you that are a familiar with the underlying pathological hallmarks of  AD will recognize the terms plaques and tangles. These protein built-ups in the brain are well-researched; however, this neuropathology is studied primarily in the end stages of the disease.

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Topics: mice, Alzheimer's disease, locomotion, ErasmusLadder, motor learning, motor performance

Prof. Berry Spruijt says goodbye (but not really)

Posted by G. Smit on Apr 21, 2015 3:00:00 PM

Did you discover something new today? This was the question Prof. Berry Spruijt used to get from his kids on a daily basis. As little ones, they might have expected their father to come home with the Nobel Prize every day.

While we normally focus on a specific study or type of research or research tools, today’s post is a little different. Prof. Dr. Berry M. Spruijt recently retired from his position at Utrecht University. I had the honor of attending the symposium that was organized to reflect on and celebrate his career.

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Topics: EthoVision XT, animal behavior research, animal welfare, PhenoTyper, UltraVox XT

Does the sex of a simulated patient affect CPR?

Posted by Annelies Verkerk on Apr 20, 2015 10:29:10 AM

It shouldn’t, but it does.

Although men and women are equally at risk for sudden cardiac arrest, studies have found that women are less likely to be resuscitated – by both bystanders and medically-trained personnel. Chelsea Kramer and her colleagues discovered that in the experiment they set up, when faced with either a male or female patient simulator, both men and women rescuers appeared reluctant to remove a female patient simulator’s clothing, with men being significantly more hesitant to do so. However, the hand placement for CPR on the female was more ideal compared to on the male simulated patient.

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Topics: The Observer XT, doctor patient interaction, medical encounter, media recorder, simulation, healthcare

Which head and neck positions are stressful for your horse during lunging?

Posted by Linda Hoekstra on Apr 17, 2015 12:00:00 PM

Being a horse owner and a Noldus employee is the perfect combination when it comes to keeping track of the scientific background for my horseback riding hobby. Since horses communicate differently than humans, I always wonder if I have a “happy athlete” when we are exercising together. Esmee Smiet and colleagues recently investigated the effects of different head and neck positions (HNPs) on behavior, heart rate variability (HRV) and cortisol levels in lunged Royal Dutch Sport horses. Interestingly, they were able to find significant differences in stress response between different head and neck positions, suggesting that there are indeed low stress and high stress ways to exercise your horse.  

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Topics: The Observer XT, horses, physiology, stress research

Gait research: let your animals walk freely

Posted by G. Smit on Apr 15, 2015 2:00:00 PM

Researchers use different ways to analyze gait in animals. Basically we can distinguish two methods: one can either observe or measure gait in an unrestricted manner, or one chooses a forced manner, such as a treadmill or treadwheel.

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Topics: Parkinson's Disease, CatWalk XT, gait analysis, spinal cord injury, ataxia, locomotion

Video-tracking to monitor the effect of influenza infection on the activity level of ferrets

Posted by Guest blogger on Apr 10, 2015 12:00:00 PM

A guest blogpost by Ding Yuan Oh, PhD

Conventional ferret activity measurements by human observation

Ferrets are the ideal animal model to assess influenza virus infection and pathogenicity as they display similar clinical symptoms to humans such as sneezing, fever and lethargy. Conventionally, lethargy or ferret activity is determined manually by an observer. However, this method is prone to bias and requires trained personnel to recognise subtle changes in individual ferret activity.

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Topics: EthoVision XT, Video tracking, activity monitoring, ferrets

Behavior and emotions of older adults

Posted by Annelies Verkerk on Mar 25, 2015 10:13:31 AM

With the predicted increase of the elderly population worldwide, it has become increasingly important to develop user-friendly products and services to assist elderly people in daily activities and improve their quality of life. Did you know that it is expected that in 2050 an estimated 1.5 billion people will be 65+, representing about 16% of the world’s population?[1]

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Topics: The Observer XT, Observation lab, living labs

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