PSYC Seminar: “Revealing embedded spatial features in behavioral systems: Toward an expanded scope of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior”, Alejandro Leon, 5:00PM October 12 (EN)

Please join Bilkent University’s Psychology Department on Wednesday for the virtual visit of Dr Alejandro Leon.

Speaker: Alejandro Leon, Universidad Veracruzana

“Revealing embedded spatial features in behavioral systems: Toward an expanded scope of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior”

Date: Wednesday, 12 October 2022
Time: 17:00
***This is an online seminar. To obtain the event link, please send a message to department.

The behavioral system as an emergent system comprises the environment and organism subsystems, and it includes spatial dynamics as a primary dimension in natural settings. Nevertheless, under the standard approaches, for reasons related to the affordable technology in the first half of the 20th century, the Experimental Analysis of Behavior (EAB) was predominantly based on the single response paradigm, which only considers the temporal distribution of discrete responses. Thus, the continuous analysis of spatial behavioral dynamics has been a scarcely studied field. However, the technological advancements in computer vision have opened new methodological perspectives for the continuous sensing of behavior, including automatized animal movement tracking. With such advancements, recent studies suggest multiple features embedded in the spatial dynamics of behavior, such as variation (measured as location’s entropy). It has been shown that these features are affected by the presentation of programmed stimuli (e.g., schedules of reinforcement) at least as much as features related to discrete responses (such as response rate). Despite the progress, the characterization of behavioral systems is still segmented, and integrated data analysis and representations between discrete responses and continuous spatial behavior are scarce. This talk proposes a multidisciplinary approach for integrative and multilevel analysis of behavior. We will present sensitive behavioral measures based on spatial dynamics and data representations that reveal some behavioral aspects usually ignored under the standard approaches. To exemplify our approach, we will show its application to the study of spatial features embedded in water-seeking behavior under different water-delivery schedules, showing aspects of the behavioral system hidden until now. Finally, we will discuss the implications of our approach in expanding the scope of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior.

About the speaker:
Alejandro León received his Ph.D. in Psychology from the National Autonomous University of Mexico. He is currently a Full-time Researcher in the Doctoral Program in Behavioral Sciences at the University of Veracruz, Mexico, and a National Researcher of the Mexican Council of Science and Technology. Dr. León is an editorial board member of the Mexican Journal of Behavior Analysis, Acta Colombiana of Psychology, and the Journal of Philosophy Aurora (Brazil). In coordination with Varsovia Hernandez-Eslava, he is the head of the Comparative Psychology Lab (LabPsiCom). Dr León is working to develop a multidisciplinary approach to understanding the spatio-temporal dynamics of behavior; this includes the development of experimental paradigms, apparatus, and software to put the spatial dimension of behavior at the core of experimental behavior analysis. In this way, he is interested in integrating physical-mathematical and artificial intelligence methods to analyze and represent the spatio-temporal continuum of behavior and overcome some limitations of the standard single-response paradigm in the Experimental Analysis of Behavior to expand its scope.