Aimee’s first results!

21 06 2017

After 4 days of scanning, Aimee was ready to see if our mice are stable in the traits we’re interested in: stereotypic behaviour and “still but awake” (where mice just stand still, doing nothing; it’s weirder than it sounds).

Yes! — the % visible scans in each behaviour on Days 1 plus 3 covaried beautifully with the equivalent values for Days 2 plus 4 (odd/even day comparisons we always do as a data quality check).

So, let her first real experiment begin!

Enrichment for hens and a cat

9 06 2017

Misha finished creating his super-enriched hen pens this weekend, and it turned out Mr Black very much liked their fresh grass too.

chickens perching

Cat face analyses slowly progressing

9 06 2017

The cat faces analyses have been slowly moving along….

IMG_4716The first proper full epidemiological model had Lauren’s laptop tied up (and increasingly hot) for 3 days, but meanwhile my simple sign tests show that overall, people CAN do it: far more subjects than you’d expect by chance got more right answers than wrong.

Right: Lauren’s nice diagram of all the factors we want to look at.

Surreal research need of the week

29 05 2017

We suddenly had to check the Cheerios our new mice get in their health checks (to make them line up neatly in a row for Michelle to look over).


We had just realised we’d be in trouble if cinnamon was an ingredient: Aimee needs cinnamon to be a novel flavour in a social learning task in a few weeks.  Luckily they turned out to be cheapo no-name “cereal loops”, with no cinnamon at all (and yet still  those mice just love them).

Quote of the week

29 05 2017

“JMP is good for beginners”Andrea, who’s been learning Stata. (I use JMP!)

Walter leaves Brighton

25 05 2017

Very behind with posts, but last month Walter went home from Spain (a parting shot from him of Brighton below), have managed to test an impressive 32 subjects at the University of Sussex (due to staying longer than planned, me and Dora kicking in some extra money, but him still being poorer than planned overall as the whole thing started so very late). 32 subjects is a terrific N though, so next steps to look forward to: finding out whether the “affect manipulation” (music) altered emotional states in the way that alcohol does? And if yes, did that alter subjects’ tendencies to guess they had been given alcohol rather than a placebo?


Neuroscience Day

9 05 2017

I alway enjoy Neuroscience Day (nice format, the pleasant Arboretum atmosphere, on tap food and caffeine …), and these days seeing how my colleagues’ work has progressed over the years is part of it (Who’s starting up a new lab in earnest? And of the established researchers, who works by drilling down deeper and deeper into a single phenemenon? Who instead is always moving in new directions?).

FullSizeRender-7The plenary by Gail Johnson was too molecular for me (and a section on inducing strokes in mice contained the terrible line “Strokes just don’t seem to affect them. Mice don’t really need their brains” — to laughter, appallingly, from the audience — bringing back memories of the cat talk from two years ago).  But still, overall it was a good day: the speaker’s vivid account of the highs and lows of a 20+ year research programme, and all the many people involved (one being our very own Craig Bailey), was warm, generous and a nice illustration of the way science so often works; many of the students gave great talks; and Lindsey presented a good poster, and nobly looked after Maria’s too.