Challenges of a small world analysis for the continuous monitoring of behavior in mice

Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2022 May;136:104621. doi: 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2022.104621. Epub 2022 Mar 17.


Documenting a mouse's "real world" behavior in the "small world" of a laboratory cage with continuous video recordings offers insights into phenotypical expression of mouse genotypes, development and aging, and neurological disease. Nevertheless, there are challenges in the design of a small world, the behavior selected for analysis, and the form of the analysis used. Here we offer insights into small world analyses by describing how acute behavioral procedures can guide continuous behavioral methodology. We show how algorithms can identify behavioral acts including walking and rearing, circadian patterns of action including sleep duration and waking activity, and the organization of patterns of movement into home base activity and excursions, and how they are altered with aging. We additionally describe how specific tests can be incorporated within a mouse's living arrangement. We emphasize how machine learning can condense and organize continuous activity that extends over extended periods of time.

Keywords: Behavioral phenotype; Computational ethology; Deep learning; Homecage behaviour; Mouse behavior; Mouse home-cage.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal*
  • Housing, Animal*
  • Humans
  • Mice