The Measuring Behavior Conferences

Background & History

Measuring Behavior is a biennial conference centered around methods and techniques in behavioral research. While most conferences focus on a specific scientific area, Measuring Behavior tries to create bridges between disciplines by bringing together people who may otherwise be unlikely to meet each other. At a Meauring Behavior meeting, you will find yourself among ethologists, behavioral ecologists, behavioral neuroscientists, developmental, social and work psychologists, ergonomists, human factors researchers, movement scientists, psychiatrists, linguists, psychophysiologists, toxicologists, usability testers, and others! While the research questions and applications may be highly diverse, what all delegates share is an interest in methods, techniques and tools for the study of behavior. Experience tells us that the focus on methodological and technical themes can lead to a very productive cross-fertilization between research fields.

The first meeting, Measuring Behavior ’96, was the spin-off of the international Eureka project "Automatic Recording and Analysis of Behavior". The plan to share the results of our project with colleagues quickly evolved into an international event. Organized by Noldus Information Technology and hosted by the Rudolf Magnus Institute for Neurosciences in Utrecht, The Netherlands, Measuring Behavior ’96 attracted 153 participants from 25 countries. The 2-day program included 70 presentations and 4 scientific tours. Menno Kruk wrote a report of the meeting, which was published in Trends in Neurosciences (vol. 20, pp. 187-189, 1997).

The second conference, Measuring Behavior '98, brought more than 275 delegates from 32 countries together at the campus of the University of Groningen in Haren. During three full conference days, there were 140 presentations grouped in 14 thematic symposia. More than in 1996, the scientific program was well-balanced between human and animal research. There was also more time for posters and demonstrations of software or equipment by participants. The scientific tours, technical training sessions and user meetings, all of which were highly rated program elements in 1996, were further expanded. In 1998 we had six lab tours, 20 setups for ongoing technical training, and two companies organized user meetings. New on the program was a ‘video digitization service’ which allowed delegates to take a look in the world of digital video. Finally, some 20 companies exhibited scientific books, instruments and software. A selection of the presentations will be published as full papers in the journal Behavior Research Methods, Instruments & Computers.

In the year 2000 Measuring Behavior was held in Nijmegen. The third meeting attracted an even bigger group of researchers from around the world. We counted over 300 delegates who attended more that 160 oral and poster presentations. New on the program at Measuring Behavior 2000 were the special interest groups and workshops. Again different companies exhibited a wide range of research instruments and software. And also that year the delegates could visit different labs on the scientific tours, receive ongoing technical training and visit user meetings organized by Noldus Information Technology.

Measuring Behavior 2002 at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam was the fourth conference. The very positive way in which the Measuring Behavior conferences have been received so far indicates that the meeting has found a niche in the crowded annual conference calendar. As far as we are concerned, it's here to stay!

Last updated: 1 December 2002