Wheel running redux

31 03 2015

Hanno and I resubmitted our paper on wheel-running to Proceedings last night. First submitted in the summer, it got bounced in September basically for being too snarky (one referee accused us Screen Shot 2015-03-30 at 10.11.38 PMof trying to make readers angry; oops, really not the intention).

Our first attempt to write a resubmission, in December, was foiled by me impulsively getting off a train in the outermost suburbs of Zurich (long stupid story).  But weeks later, we finally did it, meeting the deadline by hours.

This time we were way more constructive, showing how behavioural dysfunction should be empirically assessed, all guided by the neuroscience of behavioural control and authorities like the DSM. Intellectually it was rewarding (as was steering us between the issues of definition that we don’t see eye-to-eye on; if I give up the day job I think I’ll become a diplomat), and the paper is way more biologically interesting now. The only challenge was interpreting some of the editor’s comments, which both requested a guide for identifying when a repetitive behaviour is ‘stereotypic’ (done, only interpreting ‘stereotypic’ as pathological), and more on what could be learnt by placing running-wheels in the wild (here we had to discard loads of ideas and say nothing, due to a 1700 word limit). Actually that wasn’t the only challenge; the other was it involved me not leaving the house (or even really getting dressed) for three solid days. When I finally emerged yesterday evening, blinking, I felt like Kasper Hauser.

So, fingers tightly crossed now.