Behavioral Research Blog

Revealing the secret social role of the CA2 hippocampus

Posted by Abbe H. Macbeth, PhD on Jul 23, 2015 12:43:15 PM

Aggressive behavior is typically adaptive for most species in the animal kingdom. Examples of this can be seen in maternal aggression to protect one’s young, and defense of a home territory; both of these contribute to the survival of an individual, and the species as a whole. But how is aggressive behavior mediated in the brain? Recent work indicates that the hippocampus in general, and the CA2 region in particular, is a crucial neural component in mediating social recognition and aggression. What CA2-specific mechanisms allow for such regulation?

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Topics: EthoVision XT, mice, Video tracking, The Observer XT, social behavior research, open field test, anxiety research, aggression, resident-intruder test, zero maze

Why use Video Feedback in Education

Posted by Annelies Verkerk on Jul 20, 2015 9:50:00 AM

By using video and audio recordings in education, students and educators can receive, and benefit from, direct feedback.

Students

Students are raised with TV and internet and are accustomed to interacting with images and videos. They are used to receiving information by watching short movie clips. On a daily basis, students find themselves browsing YouTube for information (and for fun, of course). In training and simulation situations including, for example, a simulated nurse-patient interaction, students can learn a lot. Recent research [1] tells us that it is important to first deal with emotions in a medical encounter before trying to convey an important message, such as a treatment plan.

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Topics: video observation, simulation, Viso, audio recording, video feedback, video recording

Behavioral effects of optogenetically induced myelination in mice

Posted by G. Smit on Jul 16, 2015 12:00:00 PM

Myelination, the ‘ensheathment’ of neurons, is essential to the functioning of the central and peripheral nervous systems. So it is not surprising that problems with myelination can lead to a number of crippling diseases. Known examples include multiple sclerosis and other neurodegenerative autoimmune diseases.

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Topics: mice, CatWalk XT, gait analysis, locomotion

How to measure a zebrafish larva’s highly stereotyped response to water motion?

Posted by Linda Hoekstra on Jul 9, 2015 12:00:00 PM

At the Max Planck Institute in Germany, Groneberg and colleagues researched one of the neural bases for behavior in Danio rerio. They showed that larval zebrafish execute approach reactions followed by a form of positive taxis and gradual motion damping in response to water flows. That might sound complicated, but what it basically means is that zebrafish larvae are able to detect minute movement in the water and respond in a stereotypical way.

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Topics: EthoVision XT, Video tracking, zebrafish, Danio rerio, stereotypies

Movement analysis in volleyball

Posted by Annelies Verkerk on Jul 7, 2015 4:33:00 PM

When analyzing movement in sports, there is more that matters than the way players handle their rackets or hockey sticks. Observation of the way players move and their response time, overall fitness, body strength, and, of course, the overall team performance all help create a more complete picture. Sports scientists look into effective interplay of team members and actions including on-the-ball behaviors. In team sports, complex tactics and routines can be revealed by detailed behavior analysis.

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Topics: The Observer XT, sport

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 at Wageningen University (The Netherlands) 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

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