Social interaction in rodents - contemporary approach to animal behavior
Social behavior is a form of simple communication between members of the same species - both in humans and in animals. It seems to be a quite simple phenomenon, but due to its complexity and multidimensionality is difficult to quantify and analyze. In rodents and other animals social behavior constitutes a good model of the human interpersonal functioning. Various paradigms of social interaction in rats have been successfully used to study neuronal mechanisms of anxiety, aggression, domination, social defeat, stress, autism, individual differences in emotional reactivity as well as the effects of anxiogenic and anxiolytic drugs. A key advantage of this approach is a use of natural stimulus - another conspecific animal - instead of artificial objects or elaborated tasks. In addition animal reactions, that are observed as dependent variables, belongs to their natural repertoire. However, studies with multiple animals present the researcher with special challenges, both in experiment design, measurement techniques and in the analysis of data. Modern computer technology gives assistance to traditional, human observer based behavior coding as well as it does allow development of fully automatic behavior recognition systems. In this talk contemporary approach to social interaction in rodents will be presented along with major challenges and perspectives.
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