Measuring behavior across scales

BMC Biol. 2018 Feb 23;16(1):23. doi: 10.1186/s12915-018-0494-7.


The need for high-throughput, precise, and meaningful methods for measuring behavior has been amplified by our recent successes in measuring and manipulating neural circuitry. The largest challenges associated with moving in this direction, however, are not technical but are instead conceptual: what numbers should one put on the movements an animal is performing (or not performing)? In this review, I will describe how theoretical and data analytical ideas are interfacing with recently-developed computational and experimental methodologies to answer these questions across a variety of contexts, length scales, and time scales. I will attempt to highlight commonalities between approaches and areas where further advances are necessary to place behavior on the same quantitative footing as other scientific fields.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Locomotion / physiology*
  • Nerve Net / chemistry
  • Nerve Net / physiology*
  • Posture / physiology*
  • Stereotyped Behavior / physiology*