Statistical Analysis of Behavioral Data

Flavia Chiarotti1

1 Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Rome
Publication Name:  Current Protocols in Toxicology
Unit Number:  Unit 13.8
DOI:  10.1002/0471140856.tx1308s25
Online Posting Date:  September, 2005
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The statistical analysis of behavioral data follows the collection and checking of the data, and is aimed at assessing the effect of treatments on the observed behaviors. In this unit, different behavioral tests and the response variables collected in each test are briefly described, to introduce a detailed description of the strategies for the analysis of such data. The main purpose of this unit is to enable the reader to choose the appropriate procedure for the statistical analysis, based on the type of data and experimental design adopted. Moreover, conditions for the application of the most common parametric and nonparametric tests for the comparison among groups in regard to the measures of location are also presented. Finally, some suggestions on the presentation of results coming from the different statistical analyses are given.

Keywords: behavioral test; statistical analysis; parametric and nonparametric methods; survival analysis; logistic regression; Principal Component Analysis

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Table of Contents

  • Specialized Statistical Terms
  • Basic Protocol 1: Fox Battery Test
  • Basic Protocol 2: Ultrasound Vocalizations Test
  • Basic Protocol 3: Passive Avoidance Test
  • Basic Protocol 4: Morris Water Maze Test
  • Basic Protocol 5: Spatial Open Field Test
  • Basic Protocol 6: Maternal Behavior Assessment
  • Statistical Tests for the Analysis of Behavioral Data
  • Presentation of Results
  • Literature Cited
  • Figures
  • Tables
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Literature Cited

Literature Cited
   Armitage, P., Berry, G., and Matthews, J.N.S. 2002. Statistical Methods in Medical Research. 4th edition. Blackwell Science, London.
   Brunner, E., Domhof, S., and Langer, F. 2002. Nonparametric Analysis of Longitudinal Data in Factorial Experiments. John Wiley & Sons, Hoboken, N.J.
   Capone, F., Puopolo, M., Branchi, I., and Al‐leva, E. 2002. A new easy accessible and low‐cost method for screening olfactory sensitivity in mice: Behavioural and nociceptive response in male and female CD‐1 mice upon exposure to millipede aversive odour. Brain Res. Bull. 58:193‐202.
   Chiarotti, F. 2004. Detecting assumption violations in mixed‐model analysis of variance. Ann. Ist. Super. Sanità 40:165‐171.
   Chiarotti, F. and Puopolo, M. 2000. Refinement in behavioral research: A statistical approach. In Progress in the Reduction, Refinement and Replacement of Animal Experimentation. Developments in Animal and Veterinary Sciences, vol. 31 (M. Balls, A.‐M. van Zeller, and M.E. Halder, eds.) pp. 1229‐1237, Elsevier, Amsterdam.
   Cirulli, F., Bonsignore, L.T., Venerosi, A., Valanzano, A., Chiarotti, F., and Alleva, E. 2003. Long‐term effects of acute perinatal asphyxia on rat maternal behavior. Neurotoxicol. Teratol. 25:571‐578.
   Edwards, A.E. 1985. Experimental Design in Psychological Research. 5th edition. Harper & Row, New York.
   Fox, W.M. 1965. Reflex‐ontogeny and behavioural development of the mouse. Anim. Behav. 13:234‐241.
   Hofer, M.A., Shair, H.N., and Brunelli, S.A. 2001. Ultrasonic vocalizations in rat and mouse pups. In Current Protocols in Neuroscience (J.N. Crawley, C.R. Gerfen, M.A. Rogawski, D.R. Sibley, P. Skolnick, and S. Wray, eds.) pp. 8.14.1‐8.14.16. John Wiley & Sons, Hoboken, N.J.
   Hosmer, D.W. Jr. and Lemeshow, S. 2000. Applied Logistic Regression. 2nd edition. Wiley‐Interscience, New York.
   Jackson, J.E. 1991. A User's Guide to Principal Components. John Wiley & Sons, New York.
   Marascuilo, L.A. and McSweeney, M. 1977. Nonparametric and Distribution‐Free Methods for the Social Sciences. Brooks/Cole, Monterey, Calif.
   Wilcox, R.R. 1987. New Statistical Procedures for the Social Sciences: Modern Solutions to Basic Problems. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Hillsdale, N.J.
   Winer, B.J., Brown, D.R., and Michels, K.M. 1991. Statistical Principles in Experimental Design, 3rd edition. McGraw‐Hill, New York.
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