Below are some of the behavioral scoring scripts we developed and use. They are tools for human observer scoring (more powerful than a stopwatch, but someone still has to watch the sped-up video). They are free. The “price” is there is a bit of a learning curve (they are perl scripts that you run in unix, instructions below) and they are customized for what we need them to do. More info on that is listed below.
This code is offered with the Creative Commons Attribution-nonCommercial (CC BY-NC) license. You can download, use, share, and edit this code but may not sell it (or derivative code). If you use it in your research, please credit it.
*[note: files have not yet been uploaded, so just email me for any code]
All scoring code depicts a rodent on-screen. The user moves this icon to match the behavior observed in the video and the code keeps track of the timing and associated information. Videos may be played-back at actual speed, faster, or slower, as the scoring code will scale the test to the appropriate duration.
[Download specific instructions for running these scripts on a Mac, Linux box, or Unix server]
Partner Preference Test Scoring Code: IntervoleTimer
IntervoleTimer [download version 1.6]
IntervoleTimer tracks a 180 minute partner preference test and records potential variables of interest including huddling time (with each target vole or other rodent), time spent in the same chamber as each target individual, bouts of huddling, time in the solo chamber, and number of transitions between chambers. Source video can be continuous OR time-lapse; continuous video can be watched at high speed and the total time scored will be scaled to 180 minutes. Thus the original test must be 180 minutes to use the scaled scored totals at the end. A partner preference test of different duration could still be scored using this code, but the user must then read the unscaled totals from the data file. One text data file (named with the Test ID) is generated for each test. Timestamps and identifiers of all user actions are listed at the top of the file, summary data is listed at the bottom.
Elevated Plus Maze Scoring Code: EPMTimer
EPMTimer [download version 1.2]
EPMTimer tracks a 5 minute test in the elevated plus maze. The animal is presumed to start at the center of the maze. Variables recorded include latency to first entry of the light arm, duration in each zone (dark arm, center, light arm), number of transitions between zones (a measure of exploration and activity), open:dark arm times, and others. Note: if your tests are not 5 minutes long, you cannot use the scaled values at the end of the test, you must use the unscaled values. Use a timer to keep track of the duration you wish to score -- the software will not truncate the test at 5 minutes.