In our lab, we are (also) working on rodents behaviour. Some time ago, I wrote a very simple software that logs pre-defined behaviours to a file when the observer detects one of these particular behaviours and clicks on the ad hoc button. I accumulated quite some logs but I wasn’t able to really visualize how the rat performed. So, this evening, I wrote another small software to read those log files and to plot a graph of the rat activity. Here is a screenshot of the software in action:
As you can see, it’s based on the same design as the IPGPhor2 reader I previously wrote. The curve in green indicates the behavioural scores -vs- time (here, about 5 hours of observation): the higher the curve is, the more active the rat is. In red, I’ve shown the observer’s interventions: the rat need to perform an action really increases at the end of the observation and the observer has to prevent it from doing this behaviour (it’s our protocol).
In the second figure, below, the rat was allowed to perform any kind of action it wanted to do. As we can see, it was very active in the beginning (and for a short duration during the 2nd hour) but it slowly became less active. During the 3rd and 4th hours, it was completely quiet.
Great! Now, I’ll explore what was the behaviour of my rats during the past few weeks … 🙂
P.S.: This project has nothing in common with the activity recorder I presented at the Bioforum 2006 with my brother Laurent. Here, we are scoring behaviours somehow related to activity (but they could have been completely different behaviours, unrelated to activity). I should quickly write my article about the activity recorder and publish it (in an Open Access journal, I hope). Then I’ll be able to tell you exactly how it works (of course: everything will be explained in the paper).