Cognition and behaviour, Sunday AM highlights

This is my ‘official’ neuroblogger role so I want to do my best to highlight some behavioural experiments that are pretty cool.

Blanchard, the legendary behavioral dude from Hawaii showed data today on facial expressions in mice. The photographs were hilarious and they graded things like degree of eye-widening on a 30-second sampling schedule during resident intruder tests. You should have seen the resident mouse’s poor little face! This level of behavioural detail is amazing and takes real dedication to do. I don’t feel like I ever want to do video scoring again after my last experiment, but this poster made me a bit more excited about doing rodent behaviour the detailed, right, difficult, time-consuming way.

I also went to a poster by Gil et al. from Georgia State on hamster aggression. This study (187.04) was great because they broke down their behaviours of interest(aggression, social affiliation) into sub measures and showed that on a variety of related behaviours there were important social preferences in male hamsters. They really got beyond just operationalising one behaviour to represent something so broad as social behaviour. This meant there story was quite complex- it seems that males find both aggression and affiliation rewarding.

Finally, I enjoyed GG24/167.20 by Cole from Texas A&M on CPP and morphine in adolescents. I have seen a lot of work already this weekend on differences in adult and adolescent behaviour, especially related to drugs. This group showed that social context had an importent influence in morphine CPP in young but not adult animals. I love these kinds of experiments- they delve into how complex and interesting behaviour is because it constantly interacts with context, especially social context.

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