Apr 20, 2020

Simple Behavioral Analysis (SimBA): an open source toolkit for computer classification of complex social behaviors in experimental animals

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Simon R O NilssonS. A. Golden


Aberrant social behavior is a core feature of many neuropsychiatric disorders, yet the study of complex social behavior in freely moving rodents is relatively infrequently incorporated into preclinical models. This likely contributes to limited translational impact. A major bottleneck for the adoption of socially complex, ethology-rich, preclinical procedures are the technical limitations for consistently annotating detailed behavioral repertoires of rodent social behavior. Manual annotation is subjective, prone to observer drift, and extremely time-intensive. Commercial approaches are expensive and inferior to manual annotation. Open-source alternatives often require significant investments in specialized hardware and significant computational and programming knowledge. By combining recent computational advances in convolutional neural networks and pose-estimation with further machine learning analysis, complex rodent social behavior is primed for inclusion under the umbrella of computational neuroethology. Here we present an open-source package with graphical interface and workflow (Simple Behavioral Analysis, SimBA) that uses pose-estimation to create supervised machine learning predictive classifiers of rodent social behavi...Continue Reading

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