On the dimensionality of behavior

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


SignificanceHow do we characterize animal behavior? Psychophysics started with human behavior in the laboratory, and focused on simple contexts, such as the decision among just a few alternative actions in response to sensory inputs. In contrast, ethology focused on animal behavior in the natural environment, emphasizing that evolution selects potentially complex behaviors that are useful in specific contexts. New experimental methods now make it possible to monitor animal and human behaviors in vastly greater detail. This "physics of behavior" holds the promise of combining the psychophysicist's quantitative approach with the ethologist's appreciation of natural context. One question surrounding this growing body of data concerns the dimensionality of behavior. Here I try to give this concept a precise definition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e2021860119
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number18
StatePublished - May 3 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


  • complexity
  • information
  • prediction


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