The demand for replicability of behavioral results across laboratories is viewed as a burden in behavior genetics. We demonstrate how it can become an asset offering a quantitative criterion that guides the design of better ways to describe behavior. Passing the high benchmark dictated by the replicability demand requires less stressful and less restraining experimental setups, less noisy data, individually customized cutoff points between the building blocks of movement, and less variable yet discriminative dynamic representations that would capture more faithfully the nature of the behavior, unmasking similarities and differences and revealing novel animal-centered measures. Here we review ten tools that enhance replicability without compromising discrimination. While we demonstrate the usefulness of these tools in the context of inbred mouse exploratory behavior they can readily be used in any study involving a high-resolution analysis of spatial behavior. Viewing replicability as a design concept and using the ten methodological improvements may prove useful in many fields not necessarily related to spatial behavior.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This study was supported by the Israel Science Foundation (ISF) of the Israeli Academy of Science Grant 915/05 (to I.G. and Y.B.). We thank Noldus Information Technology for the use of their EthoVision system including the new EthoVision XT 7.0. Initial versions of this paper were presented in a symposium organized by JC Fentress as part of a Measuring Behavior Conference held in Maastricht, The Netherlands, 2008, and in the Meeting of the Eastern Mediterranean Region of the International Biometric Society, Istanbul 2009.
- Compression of kinematic data
- Description of behavior
- Discriminability between strains and preparations
- Exploratory behavior
- Genotype-laboratory interaction
- Mixed-Model Anova
- Open field behavior
- Phenotyping mouse behavior
- Replicability of results
- Segmentation of behavior
- Smoothing kinematic data