- Since rodent self-grooming behaviours are elicited by both comfort and stressful conditions, traditional measures such as duration, latency of onset and the number of bouts may be not suitable to dissociate between these opposite conditions. The aim of the current study was to improve and optimize ethological measurement of self-grooming in neurobehavioural stress research enabling differentiation between stress and no-stress situations. This protocol assists in the correct interpretation of animal grooming behaviours and detection of stress by measuring alterations in grooming microstructure in different test situations. While a general pattern of self-grooming uninterrupted cephalocaudal progression is normally observed in no-stress (comfort) conditions in mice and other rodents, the percentage of "incorrect" transitions between different stages and the percentage of interrupted grooming bouts may be used as behavioural marker of stress. The protocol can be a useful tool in neurobehavioural stress research including modelling stress-evoked states, pharmacological screening of potential antistress drugs or behavioural phenotyping of genetically modified animals.
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posted to Language Log on Wed 13th Jul 11
Andy Coughlan, "First evidence that birds tweet using grammar", New Scientist 6/26/2011:They may not have verbs, nouns or past participles, but birds challenge the notion that humans alone have evolved grammatical rules.Bengal finches have their own versions ...