Understanding body language: Scientists create new technology to read complex patterns of …

Cerebellum of CIVM postnatal rat brain atlas. Credit: Neurolex It might not rival Newton’s apple, which led to his formulating the law of gravity, but the collapse of a lighting scaffold played a key role in the discovery that mice, like humans, have body language. Harvard Medical School scientists have developed new computational techniques that can make sense of the bodily movements of mice, organizing them into notions of syllables and grammar. Along the way they also proposed a solution to a longstanding problem in neuroscience—how to objectively study complex three-dimensional patterns of animal behavior without relying on subjective human observers. Their results appear in Neuron. “If you look into the brain and ask how any individual brain cell fires as an animal generates any given behavior, what you find…


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