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Department of Animal Sciences
The Robert H. Smith Faculty
of Agricultural, Food & Environment

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

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Identity domains in complex behavior: Toward a biology of personality


Forkosh, O. ; Karamihalev, S. ; Roeh, S. ; Engel, M. ; Alon, U. ; Anpilov, S. ; Nussbaumer, M. ; Flachskamm, C. ; Kaplick, P. ; Shemesh, Y. ; et al. Identity domains in complex behavior: Toward a biology of personality. bioRxiv 2018, 395111.

Date Published:



Personality traits offer considerable insight into the biological basis of individual differences. However, existing approaches toward understanding personality across species rely on subjective criteria and limited sets of behavioral readouts, resulting in noisy and often inconsistent outcomes. Here, we introduce a mathematical framework for studying individual differences along dimensions with maximum consistency and discriminative power. We validate this framework in mice, using data from a system for high-throughput longitudinal monitoring of group-housed mice that yields a variety of readouts from all across an individual’s behavioral repertoire. We describe a set of stable traits that capture variability in behavior and gene expression in the brain, allowing for better informed mechanistic investigations into the biology of individual differences.