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Scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry in Munich, Germany, together with colleagues at the Weizmann Institute of Sciencein Israel have developed a computational method to objectively measure the personality of mice living in a semi-natural, group environment.
Just like humans, every mouse is different. Some are quick to explore a new environment while others prefer to stay within the comfort of their nest. Some prefer to stay close to their cagemates, while others prefer to be alone. These unique characteristics of an individual remain fairly stable through life and define their personality. In humans, personality can be measured using multiple-choice questionnaires to derive personality scores, but how can one measure personality in animals?
Oren - Forkosh - Stoyo - Karamihalev - Colleagues
Oren Forkosh and Stoyo Karamihalev, together with other colleagues collected huge amounts of data by analyzing video footage taken of groups of mice. To do this, they dyed the fur of each mouse a different color, allowing the researchers to track the groups of mice undisturbed. Each video was analyzed for a repertoire of 60 behaviors, such as how close a mouse stays to other mice, if they chase one another or run away, or the time spent in the nest or eating.
The scientists developed a mathematical algorithm that sought stable traits that were able to discriminate individuals based on differences in behavior. This method works somewhat in the same way as personality tests in humans, in which people are often assessed on five...
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