High-order social interactions in groups of mice

Yair Shemesh, Yehezkel Sztainberg, Oren Forkosh, Tamar Shlapobersky, Alon Chen*, Elad Schneidman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

138 Scopus citations


Social behavior in mammals is often studied in pairs under artificial conditions, yet groups may rely on more complicated social structures. Here, we use a novel system for tracking multiple animals in a rich environment to characterize the nature of group behavior and interactions, and show strongly correlated group behavior in mice. We have found that the minimal models that rely only on individual traits and pairwise correlations between animals are not enough to capture group behavior, but that models that include third-order interactions give a very accurate description of the group. These models allow us to infer social interaction maps for individual groups. Using this approach, we show that environmental complexity during adolescence affects the collective group behavior of adult mice, in particular altering the role of high-order structure. Our results provide new experimental and mathematical frameworks for studying group behavior and social interactions.

Original languageAmerican English
Article numbere00759
Issue number2
StatePublished - 3 Sep 2013
Externally publishedYes


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