Behavioral Research Blog

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

10 Innovative behavioral studies on Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s

Posted by G. Smit on Mar 17, 2015 4:30:00 PM

Tomorrow the 12th International Conference on Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases (ADPD) in Nice, France starts. Last week I blogged about a study on Ginkgo biloba and Alzheimer's, and I thought this would be a great opportunity to highlight some more studies and get you in the mood for the conference. This blog post features 10 interesting studies that use innovative techniques to study models of AD and PD and important underlying neuronal mechanisms.

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Topics: EthoVision XT, mice, Alzheimer's disease, Video tracking, zebrafish, Danio rerio, DanioVision, Parkinson's Disease, learning and memory, rats, CatWalk XT, gait analysis, locomotion, ErasmusLadder, reflexive motor learning, motor performance

How Ginkgo biloba helps treat Alzheimer’s

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

Ginkgo biloba. Some of you might recognize it as a dietary supplement that is supposed to enhance cognitive function, but studies investigating these claims have mixed results. Xu Liu and colleagues recently investigated the effects of Ginkgo biloba extract on a mouse model for Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Interestingly, they were able to confirm positive effects on AD pathology, such as improved memory, but only after long-term treatment.  

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Topics: EthoVision XT, mice, Alzheimer's disease, Video tracking, learning and memory, Barnes maze

Motivation and eating: deep brain imaging in freely moving mice

Posted by G. Smit on Mar 5, 2015 12:00:00 PM

Craving a certain snack, getting it from the fridge or at the store, then the joy of eating it. It’s a familiar ritual for most of us. Scientist say we are performing appetitive and consummatory behavior, and the part of our brain that regulates these behaviors is the lateral hypothalamus (LH). You can imagine that this is an important element in the investigation of, for example, addiction and eating disorders. The problem is that the LH seems to be a mosaic of different neurons with different functions, making it difficult to specifically target them. 

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Topics: EthoVision XT, mice, Video tracking, optogenetics, eating disorder, deep brain imaging, addiction

How autistic fruit flies behave

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

The number of children with developmental disorders such as autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) has increased exponentially in the past 20 years: one out of six children in the US now suffers from a developmental disability. Of course some might say this sharp incline is due to better diagnostics and increased awareness; but whether or not this is the case, such a high prevalence is concerning. And since the environment is considered a strong contributor, chemicals such as BPA have been under investigation lately.

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Topics: EthoVision XT, Video tracking, autism research, drosophila, fruit fly

Location is everything: Measuring visitor behavior

Posted by Annelies Verkerk on Feb 23, 2015 10:00:00 AM

Want to know where the action is? Interested in getting real-time feedback about a conference, concert, or event hotspots? At the Measuring Behavior conference in August 2014, a number of meeting participants took part in an exciting experiment in which they received real-time updates on their own smartphones about the “hotness” of several conference events. Did this information lead them to the most interesting lectures, booths, or poster sessions?

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Topics: emotion recognition, FaceReader, TrackLab, consumer behavior, emotions

How to measure the social behavior of Fragile X mice

Posted by G. Smit on Feb 20, 2015 2:00:00 PM

Fragile X syndrome (FXS), formerly known as mental retardation, is a common developmental disorder with a prevalence of 1 in 3600 to 4000 males and 1 in 4000 to 6000 females (www.fragilex.org). Besides the intellectual challenges, patients often show behavioral abnormalities, which in a large part of the male patients strongly resembles autism-like behavior. Unfortunately, treatment of FXS is limited to the symptoms – think of behavioral therapy or pharmaceuticals to treat attentional deficits, anxiety, and impulse control problems.

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Topics: mice, social hierarchy, automated tube test, Fragile X syndrome

Side effects of L-DOPA investigated in parkinsonian rats

Posted by G. Smit on Feb 16, 2015 2:00:00 PM

Just recently, I blogged about a Parkinson’s disease (PD) study that compared the locomotion of Parkinsonian rats to those of human patients using automated gait analysis. Following up on that, this time I would like to highlight two recent Parkinson’s studies that use video tracking for their behavioral analysis. These studies specifically investigate the long-term effects of L-DOPA or levopoda, a common clinical treatment for PD, with which many patients struggle.

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Topics: EthoVision XT, Video tracking, Parkinson's Disease, open field test, PhenoTyper, behavior recognition

Measuring creativity at the GrunbergLab

Posted by Annelies Verkerk on Feb 11, 2015 10:05:00 AM

Do you know what creativity is? Can you measure it? On February 19, 2014 Dr. Ysbrand van der Werf gave a lecture on creativity. For him, creativity is about the creator and the person experiencing the things created.

The creator   

In the autumn of 2013, a team of scientists measured the emotions, brain activity and subjective feelings of a writer (Arnon Grunberg) as he created a new book (‘Het bestand’: an ambiguous title that can refer to a computer file or a cease-fire).

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

Parkinson’s & gait impairment: comparing rats and humans

Posted by G. Smit on Feb 5, 2015 4:13:00 PM

When you hear about Parkinson’s disease (PD), the first thing that comes to mind is probably impaired movement. And that there is no cure. As PD is one of the most common neurodegenerative diseases, you can imagine why it is the focus of many drug development and clinical studies.

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Topics: Parkinson's Disease, rats, CatWalk XT, gait analysis, locomotion

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