Graphic State Notation Software
Latest Version 3.02 compatible with Windows 2000 and XP
Graphic State Notation, or just Graphic State, is a designed to allow experimenters to create interactive experiment-control protocols for behavioral experiments using state logic. It is a conceptual extension and major improvement of state notation languages of the past. If you have used other state notation software before, you will move easily into using the Graphic State program. You'll find a new elegance in state notation with robust power and incredible simplicity.
First of all, Graphic State uses a "point and click" screen that presents options to be selected by the user and represents the structure of each state graphically. It is inherently user friendly because the screen contains all of the options and acts as a universal prompt. You need not learn a language or remember what to type or how to type it for each option. It is is all contained in each window.
Like its predecessors, Graphic State conceives of an experiment as a series of states through which an experiment moves. Each state specifies a stimulus configuration in the subject's environment, and a set of time and/or response requirements which cause the program to exit that state and move on to the next state.
Departing from older state notation, Graphic State features the advanced power of handling concurrence by the election to preserve accumulated responses and time. You may elect to reset or not to reset any response-event or elapsed time exit requirement upon entry into a state. You do not have to use the awkward methods of nesting or setting/copying register values and variables as with the older programs.
Graphical State experiments or protocols are created in windows that lead the user through constructing states. This is done graphically by specifying stimuli, the elapsed-time and the input-event (response) variables necessary to exit each state and make a transition to the next. Specifying which data and how to analyze and present them is simple; just point and click.
In old state notation programs, the stimuli to be turned on when the state is active are typed-in by the user. With Graphic State, they are presented in an array at the top of the state graphic; you just point and click in the circles bearing the stimulus names. They will "light up" when selected to indicate at a glance which ones will be turned on in this state.
A feature of our Habitest Linc is that it is labeled with the names of the stimulus devices corresponding to the stimuli specified at the top of the state graphic. Labels such as "Cue Lite," "Tone" and "Feeder" are displayed in the actual state graphic. With Graphic State, you don't have to remember which devices are connected to which stimulus outputs or to set up the software with a configuration table. Each Habitest Linc has all the drivers and switch buffers to add or card frames to wire in order to add a stimulus or response module to the arena in the future.
In state notation, you specify which response events, and how many of them are required, to produce a state change (transition to the next state). The Graphic State protocol-creation window shows by name, in a "point and click" list, the inputs that are available in the station arrangement you are using. The event-parameter specification box in each window allows you to make "point and click" selections of an input and the number of events occurs, then the program will go to the state you specify with it's new stimulus configuration and response consequences.
You may also select the number of events required from a list that you create to require a different number each time the program "uses up" a value. You may also elect to import an entire transition line from another state with the count value for the number remaining from count-down in the original state along the way!
Some Habitest response sensors provide information about the magnitude (analog level) of certain types of behaviors. The threshold output of our A24-72 Transducer Monitor will detect the point at which a transducer analog signal exceeds a user preset value level and change it's output signal from "OFF" to "ON." The A24-72 Transducer Monitor also reduces the analog information to a series of pulses that vary in rate as a funtion of amplitude. They are handled by the Linc as event-like inputs but represent time/magnitude integrals such as grams/second. For proportional analog measures performed in behavioral analysis, this is the preferred method because the spatial-topographic and temporal nature of overt behavioral responses are not suited to periodic, instantaneous sampling by multibit A/D converters.
Just as for responses, you can create a time-transition line to determine the duration a state will persist by specifying an exit "AFTER" a period of time. You may select any number of time-transition lines! This is a definite departure from standard state notations programs. How can you possibly use multiple times? You might think that the program will leave the state after the shortest interval has elapsed. It can, but in Graphic State, transition parameters are not automatically reset on state entry so the elapsed times of the longer intervals may be preserved. Since you have the option to reset or not to reset any transition-requirement line the next time you enter the state, any remaining item(s) may continue from when the state was previously left. So the next time you enter, you can exit after a different elapsed time! You can also exit a state after a cumulative time in the state after multiple visits to that state! As with event transitions, you may also select time from a list.
The carry/import function (the portable Transition) is where the preservation of remaining event and time values really pays off. Accumulated events and elapsed time can be carried throughout the program flow rather than being restricted to use within the specified state. If you have used other state notation programs, you will see that this obviates many complex operations in those programs (including nesting) and opens powerful protocol creation techniques.
Many times it is desirable that "UPON" the Nth entry to a state, you change the program structure by going to a different state which may be linked to a totally different group of states representing a different stage of the experiment. Such transitions are accomplished by using the state-entry transition line. Simply specify that upon the Nth entry, the program will make a transition to another state.
All of the additions to the state graphic are made by clicking on one or more of the buttons and using the associated transition-creation windows that appear. States are created automatically and added tot he state selection list when they are specified as transition targets.
AUTOMATIC PROGRAM CHECKING
Graphic State can automatically resolve a protocol, that is, make sure it is complete and will not "hang up" when ran. It fully checks to see that all state transitions are complete and that all states are linked to completed stages having stimuli specified and one or more transition lines appended, and has a route tot he "Finished" state.
Graphic State is built around a database that features very robust data acquisition and analysis. You can create multiple data analysis structures comprised of just a few or hundreds of elements. Each structure may be analyzed at any time and you can create new analysis structures after some or all of the sessions have been run to re-analyze the data of interest under a new hypothesis.
There is a filter section in the database that allows you to average records by sorting based on the session, the run, the station and the subject (by up to six subject-name attributes). Previously averaged data may be averaged with other previously averaged data to save computational time because the information necessary to recalculate standard deviations is saved in the database with the averaged data.
Data may be presented in tabular or graphic form. The tables and graphs may be saved and imported into your word processing program.
There are also many other features in Graphic State that make the program a pleasure to use.
You can create a number of subject-draw lists that can be queried as listed or at random to automatically assign the next subject to be run.
You can run the same protocol in each. You can run master and yoked stations. Each station is independent and when one subject is finished, you may enter the next name and start it as soon as you have the animal in the box.
The session run screen shows all stations with columns below each listing response totals, the previous and current state, the elapsed time and the status of each station.
There are automatic equipment checks at session log-in.
A customizable (and optional) security and password system - control access to functions (e.g., create protocols, run sessions, analyze data) for each project/database separately for each person in your lab with user names and passwords. As we move Graphic State Notation towards GLP compliance (Title 21, Part 11 - Electronic Records, Electronic Signatures), let our software help your lab reach full compliance.
Global stimuli - turn them on once on the Globals screen and they will be on in every state unless you explicitly turn them off when the State Graphic is up.
Flashing stimuli - all stimuli can be flashed on and off at selectable rates for selectable periods of time. You may do this for 1 to 99,999 units on and off, or off and on. This is useful, for example, for operating a feeder just once in a state while leaving a magazine light on for a longer time period. It also makes it possible to pulse shock delivery in a single state.
Use any PROGramming button with any AUX output.
Enhanced data exporting capabilities - you can export:
- raw data (with a spreadsheet row for each response input or state transition)
- analyzed data for one animal or averages for a group run in the same session (one row with a column for each analysis element bin)
- analyzed data for a series of animals from the same or different runs of the same protocol (one row per animal with a column for each analysis element bin)
- Easier navigation between projects/databases without exiting the program.
Graphic State 2 Manual (also suitable for GS3) - pdf (65 pages)
Graphic State Tutorial - pdf (165 pages)