Feb 17, 2023

Mouse Behavioral Analysis Toolbox, MouBeAT, Mouse Behavioral Analysis Toolbox, was posted to GitHub in 2018 by Elísabet Bello-Arroyo, Helio Roque and colleagues from Centro Nacional de Investigaciones Cardiovasculares (CNIC).

The open source toolbox uses ImageJ macro language to rapidly and accurately analyze multiple behaviors in mice across different tests. Rodent behavioral tests are used to expand understanding of neurological and psychological disorders in animals. The standard method to quantify results of behavioral tests requires either time consuming manual evaluation, or expensive software to automate analysis. The designers of Mouse Behavioral Analysis Toolbox (MouBeAT) published the open source toolbox to make an affordable semi-automatic behavioral analysis. The Mouse Behavioral Analysis Toolbox tracks the mouse and analyzes different behaviors related to anxiety, working memory, and spatial learning. The program can run multiple analyses across different types of behavioral tests, including Open Field(OF), Elevated Plus Maze (EPM), Y-Maze(YM), and Morris Water Maze (MWM). MouBeAT runs on the image analysis software ImageJ, and is written in the same ImageJ macro language. The program is platform independent and can run on Windows, Linux, and MacOS. To use MouBeAT select the preference from the Preference Menu to either a, default from data, general, or specific algorithm. The desired behavioral analysis can be selected from the drop down menu, then the software will guide the user through steps to determine pixel size and various processing options. The program will generate and store two excel files with frame by frame analysis and the overall results. When compared to manual evaluations of behavior the analysis produced from MouBeAT proved to be accurate. Animal behavioral tests are often limited to one behavioral analysis for one test, but MouBeAT has the ability to analyze multiple behaviors and works for different tests. Using MouBeAT makes semi-automatic behavioral analysis affordable and reduces the variability of manual results taken by different observers. The software doesn’t require any parameters like length or camera angles for videos. However, all videos must be converted to ffmpeg.exe files to be read by MouBeAT, a video file converter is available online and linked below.

This research tool was created by your colleagues. Please acknowledge the Principal Investigator, cite the article in which the tool was described, and include an RRID in the Materials and Methods of your future publications. RRID: SCR_023291

Special thanks to Lucero Shorter, an undergraduate neuroscience major, for providing this project summary! This summary is part of a collection from students in a Computational Methods for Neuroscience Course at American University. 

Access MouBeAt on GitHub

Check out the MouBeAt GitHub repository.

Read the publication!

Learn more about MouBeAt’s development and implementation from the Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience publication!