Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.

Using Technology to Extend the Collection and Use of Behavioral Data in Applied Settings

Kathryn Kalafut (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology)

Invited Paper



Biography:Katie has published animal research in both applied and basic settings. Her background of basic and applied work carries equal weight in the research she conducts today. Her passion lies in building captive animal environments that enhance animal welfare, from building devices that continuously collect data to developing platforms that facilitate up-to-the-minute, data-based decisions regarding an animal's care. She does this work both as an Associate Professor at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology in Applied Behavior Analysis, as well as CEO of Tracks Technology, a consulting company working with animal facilities to collect, analyze, and interpret behavioral data to ensure the highest welfare for their animals.


Abstract: Behavioral data is necessary in order to make informed decisions about the welfare of humans and animals, but its collection can be challenging--particularly so in animal care facilities. Traditional methods of collecting insightful behavioral data require time, resources, and experts who understand data analysis and visualization. Furthermore, in order for data to be used in-the-moment to make decisions about an animal’s care, it needs to be collected, analyzed, and visualized on a continuous basis. While this is nearly impossible to achieve with the methods frequently used in applied settings, it is not for those used in a basic laboratory. By finding inspiration from the standard operant chamber, and taking advantage of the availability of microcontrollers and sensors, automating data collection in applied settings is more feasible than ever. This presentation will discuss what it takes to provide continuous welfare for animals living under human care, and how we can achieve this with the use of current technologies. Projects involving domestic cats, Asian elephants, and penguins will be used to highlight the current usage as well as future applications.


Modifed by Eddie Soh