Behavioral Research Blog

Measuring behavioral effects of laboratory rearing on starlings

Posted by Olga Krips on Dec 10, 2013

Tracking birds with EthoVision XT and analyzing patterns with Theme

Laboratory animals and behavioral research
Rearing animals specifically for behavioral research is a very common practice. However, the results from behavioral studies with laboratory animals should be interpreted with care. There is much evidence indicating that the behavior of laboratory animals differs from that of animals caught in the wild. Laboratory animals are likely to be tamer than wild animals, but they can also be impaired in some behaviors. Some mammals have impairments in learning and memory when reared in a laboratory. They can also develop abnormal behaviors, called stereotypies, such as route-tracing. Similar effects of rearing in laboratories can be found in some bird species.

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Topics: EthoVision XT, Video tracking, T-patterns, Theme, learning and memory, birds, measuring behavior

Top 5 novel object recognition articles

Posted by G. Smit on Nov 26, 2013

Novel object recognition is one of the most commonly used behavioral tests on laboratory rodents. It is also easily automated with video tracking software. Want to know how? I’ve lined up five of the most popular blog posts about this test from our Behavioral Research Blog.

Here you go!

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Topics: EthoVision XT, mice, Video tracking, learning and memory, rats, novel object test

Zebrafish research: behavioral differences between wild-type strains

Posted by G. Smit on Aug 20, 2013

Often in animal research, animals with a certain genetic alteration are compared to a “wild-type” (this being the ‘normal’ rat, mouse, or zebrafish). One might assume that there is no difference between one wild-type animal and the next, but in fact, many different strains of wild-type animals are used.

Many wild-type zebrafish strains
The same is true for zebrafish. Many studies talk of wild-type animals, but the strain is not always mentioned. Furthermore, wild-type fish can be acquired at the pet shop, from a commercial scientific supplier, or simply caught in the wild. Vignet et al. noticed that there have been reports of differences in behavior between wild-type strains, and therefore they stress the importance of matching the most appropriate strain to the behavioral test.

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Topics: EthoVision XT, Video tracking, fish, zebrafish, exploratory behavior, learning and memory, anxiety research, circadian rhytmicity, T-maze, color discrimination, novel tank test, light/dark challenge, bottom dwelling

Video tracking connects some dots between cognitive impairment and cranial radiation

Posted by Annelies Verkerk on Mar 22, 2013

By Dr. Christine Buske

On a yearly basis, an estimated 20.000 individuals are diagnosed with primary brain tumors in the United States alone (Langley & Fidler, 2013). About ten times that number of patients will receive treatment for primary or metastatic brain cancer. Often times, these brain tumors are located in regions that are difficult to reach surgically. This leaves whole brain radiation therapy as the only viable treatment.

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Topics: EthoVision XT, Morris water maze, mice, Video tracking, learning and memory, novel object test

How to get reliable results on object recognition using automated video tracking

Posted by Annelies Verkerk on Mar 12, 2013

In the beginning of this year I wrote a post about the Morris water maze test, a popular and well-validated paradigm to study learning and memory in rats and mice. This blog is about another very popular test, the (novel) object recognition task.

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Topics: EthoVision XT, mice, Video tracking, animal behavior research, learning and memory, rats, novel object test

Optogenetics and operant conditioning

Posted by G. Smit on Feb 5, 2013

Not long ago, I wrote about optogenetics (in this post) and the work of Dr. Stuber and his colleagues at the Stuberlab (www.stuberlab.org). Another great example of optogenetics in behavioral studies is the work of Dr. Kravitz and Dr. Kreitzer at the Kreitzer lab (currently, Kravitz works at the NIDDK in Bethesda). Let me tell you about it. 

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Topics: EthoVision XT, mice, Video tracking, animal behavior research, learning and memory, optogenetics, operant conditioning

5 must-read articles on zebrafish behavioral research

Posted by G. Smit on Oct 16, 2012

I have been reading a lot about zebrafish research lately and I thought it would be nice to share some of my favorite articles with you. 

For an overview of what Noldus can do to help you out with your research, click below. 

Zebrafish Research Solutions

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Topics: EthoVision XT, Video tracking, animal behavior research, zebrafish, Danio rerio, learning and memory, anxiety research, novel tank test, cognition

The search for autism models continues - why rats are important

Posted by G. Smit on Oct 4, 2012

Autism, or rather Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), continues to be an important topic in scientific research. Although finding the actual cause of ASD is still years away, there have been several studies that point to a strong genetic component (though not all cases are hereditary). People with ASD suffer from difficulties in social interaction and communication because they are limited in their empathic abilities and intuition and have a hard time expressing their emotions. There are also a number of other ways ASD expresses itself, such as compulsive and repetitive behavior. You can image this can make life hard, and a large part of people suffering from ASD lead lonely lives. There is no cure, but there are some therapies. That is why scientific research is important. As potential causes and cures are being studied, the need for good animal models of ASD is becoming more and more important. 

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Topics: EthoVision XT, Morris water maze, Video tracking, animal behavior research, autism research, learning and memory, rats, cognition

What we can learn from zebrafish in a T-maze

Posted by G. Smit on Jun 18, 2012

Scrolling through our recent blogs, you can tell how important zebrafish have become in behavioral research. So we thought it was time to tell you a little more about some popular paradigms. Starting with the T-maze.

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Topics: EthoVision XT, animal behavior research, zebrafish, Danio rerio, learning and memory, T-maze, color discrimination, cognition

Brain waves and behavior: sleep to learn

Posted by G. Smit on Apr 19, 2012

To find out more about human and animal learning and memory, we might just have to go to sleep. Ahem – research on sleep, I mean.

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Topics: EthoVision XT, mice, Video tracking, animal behavior research, exploratory behavior, learning and memory, open field test, anxiety research, elevated plus maze, home cage, PhenoTyper, cognition, brain waves, REM sleep

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