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Recording Behaviour Using a Portable Microcomputer

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image of Behaviour

This paper describes a microcomputer-based event recorder for recording behavioural observations. The system uses a widely available portable microcomputer (an Epson PX-8) and can be used for recording behaviour in a wide variety of situations. It combines the advantages of a keyboard event recorder with the ease of use and flexibility of paper-and-pencil methods (check sheets), and overcomes many of the problems inherent in specialised event recorders. With the event recorder program, the microcomputer can be used to record the frequencies, durations and latencies of many different categories of behaviour. With the check sheet emulator program, it can be used to obtain a time-sampled record of complex social behaviour, in the same way as with a check sheet. Listings of both programs, which are written in BASIC, are given. No computer programming expertise is required and no specialised hardware need be built in order to use this powerful, flexible and relatively inexpensive system.

Affiliations: 1: University of Cambridge, Department of Zoology, Downing Street, Cambridge CB2 3EJ; 2: University of Cambridge, Sub-Department of Animal Behaviour, Madingley, Cambridge CB3 8AA, U.K.


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