The past year we’ve attended a lot of events, released many products, and worked together with great scientists. We look back at a fantastic year and will continue this positive flow in 2017.
On Thursday November 25, I3B - a network of high-tech companies and knowledge institutes aimed at joint research & development and commercialization of innovative ICT solutions - held its 5th annual symposium.
Coming back from my first Measuring Behavior (MB) conference, a number of colleagues asked me how it was - did I enjoy myself, and would I write a blog about it? So here I am, overwhelmed by all the information I received during my two days at the conference, but clueless as to what to write about my experience. Where do I start, which things would I like to highlight, and what struck me the most?
May 2016, Dublin - Early morning and the hotel lobby is already buzzing. Researchers from all over the world, members of the organizing committee, student volunteers, sales staff - all are gathering for the same purpose: the first day of Measuring Behavior 2016. At ten minutes to 9, the chatter slowly stops when Cathal Gurrin takes center stage. "Fáilte roimh a baile átha Cliath, welcome to Dublin!"
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.
Every two years, the international multi-disciplinary conference Measuring Behavior is organized and held in Europe. If you are a behavioral researcher, you really shouldn’t miss it. Why?
Here are 10 reasons why you should attend Measuring Behavior 2016!
We all know the face. No, not just the face, but that face. That look that she swears is not a look. She says she’s not angry; she reassures you she’s having fun. But her face has been “throwing shade” all night – without saying anything, that face is indicating that she is not happy; more than not happy, she’s about to make your night miserable too. There are plenty of memes, jokes, and videos, much like this one, which make light of that face, which in 2015 has become better known as “Resting B---- Face” (RBF).
Measuring Behavior is an international multidisciplinary conference which takes place every two years. This August it is in Wageningen, in the Netherlands. If you are a behavioral researcher, you really ought to attend. Why?
1. The diverse, multidisciplinary program. The scientific program contains contributions focusing on purely scientific aspects (issues of replicability, dynamic aspects of behavior) and applied research (animal welfare), human behavior (eye trackers in consumer research) and animal (rodent behavior), technical sessions (video tracking of social animals and recognition of human behaviors from video), sessions presenting the latest technology (3D simulators) and topics that are of relevance to everyone (eating behavior of people). The above list just scratches the surface of what promises to be a very diverse and interesting three days.
Topics: animal behavior research, emotion recognition, animal welfare, methods and techniques, Automating behavioral observations, human behavior research, consumer behavior, behavioral research, measuring behavior, conferences
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.
A quick search on the internet reveals that no one seems to know how many scientific conferences take place in a year. The best I could find was “it’s got to be huge”, and when it comes to it, that is as a good a quantification as you need. With so many meetings, in so many fields of behavioural research, what makes Measuring Behavior stand out? Two very important things.
First it is not about results, which is very unusual. Virtually every conference focuses on scientific results. However, in practice, it is often the developments in methodology that have lead to the real advances in science. Without the microscope there would have been no microbiology. Without the telescope, there would be no astronomy. And without x-ray crystallography, Watson and Crick would never have discovered the structure of DNA. New methods and techniques are vital for the advancement of science.