Phenotyping stereotypic behaviour: Collective variables, range of variation and predictability

I. Golani*, N. Kafkafi, D. Drai

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Stereotypy is the narrowing down of an animal's behavioural repertoire. Starting from normal behaviour there is a continuum between rich and free behaviour on the one hand, and dull and predictable stereotypies on the other. To study the continuum all that one needs are 'knobs' (like drugs or stress) that shift the behaviour from one end to the other, and a method for documenting the behavioural shift. The degree of narrowing down of the animal's repertoire is measurable in terms of the number of 'collective variables' available to the animal, the range of values each collective variable can take, and the predictability of sequences of movements. We substantiate this thesis by presenting examples taken from the normal and drug-induced behaviour of the rat.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)191-220
Number of pages30
JournalApplied Animal Behaviour Science
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 1999
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This paper was presented at the Wood-Gush Memorial Lecture of the 31th Congress of the International Society for Applied Ethology in Prague. This work was supported by a grant from the Israel National Academy of Sciences and Humanities. We thank David Eilam for critical reading of the manuscript.


  • Behaviour pattern
  • Coordination dynamics
  • Drug-induced stereotypies
  • Dynamic Systems
  • Mobility gradient
  • Motor control


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