Raymond Vagell1, Vance J. Vagell2 and Andrea L. Baden3,4
1Animal Behavior & Conservation Program, Dept. of Psychology, Hunter College of City University of New York, New York , NY, 10065, USA.
2Queens, New York.
3Dept. Anthropology, Hunter College of City University of New York, New York, NY 10065.
4New York Consortium in Evolutionary Primatology, The Graduate Center of City University of New York, New York, NY 10065.
Primate behavioral studies often rely on human observation for data collection. This is especially true in captive and laboratory settings. However, human error and imperfect inter-rater reliability can contribute to erroneous data collection and entry. Furthermore, the physical presence of a researcher can influence research outcomes. The subject-mediated automatic remote testing apparatus (SMARTA) was developed in an effort to avoid human error, inter-rater disagreement, the observer effect, to control for visual stimuli, and to automatically log all observational data to the cloud. SMARTA is an innovative novel apparatus that integrates motorized food delivery (food reinforcement), remote control, and cloud-based data logging. SMARTA is a color-calibrated tablet-based testing platform, controlled remotely via smartphone app, which automatically dispenses food rewards and logs data online. With SMARTA, a researcher can remotely control an experiment without influencing subjects under test using Android apps for smartphone and tablet that interconnect using Bluetooth. Further, it automatically records data and uploads it to a Google spreadsheet for later analysis. Recent color vision studies have used naturalistic settings to assess and determine whether primates are either dichromats or trichromats. SMARTA can be used for touch screen discrimination tasks, especially color vision studies where hues and brightness are carefully controlled. Since it utilizes a consumer Android tablet and smartphone rather than specialized hardware, SMARTA can be built inexpensively.