, Volume 60, Issue 5, pp 467–475 | Cite as

Eulerian videography technology improves classification of sleep architecture in primates

  • Emilie Melvin
  • David SamsonEmail author
  • Charles L. Nunn
Original Article


Sleep is a critically important dimension of primate behavior, ecology, and evolution, yet primate sleep is under-studied because current methods of analyzing sleep are expensive, invasive, and time-consuming. In contrast to electroencephalography (EEG) and actigraphy, videography is a cost-effective and non-invasive method to study sleep architecture in animals. With video data, however, it is challenging to score subtle changes that occur in different sleep states, and technology has lagged behind innovations in EEG and actigraphy. Here, we applied Eulerian videography to magnify pixels relevant to scoring sleep from video, and then compared these results to analyses based on actigraphy and standard infrared videography. We studied four species of lemurs (Eulemur coronatus, Lemur catta, Propithecus coquereli, Varecia rubra) for 12-h periods per night, resulting in 6480 1-min epochs for analysis. Cramer’s V correlation between actigraphy-classified sleep and infrared videography-classified sleep revealed consistent results in eight of the nine 12-h videos scored. A sample of the infrared videography was then processed by Eulerian videography for movement magnification and re-coded. A second Cramer’s V correlation analysis, between two independent scorers coding the same Eulerian-processed video, found that interobserver agreement among Eulerian videography increased sleep vs. awake, NREM, and REM classifications by 7.1%, 46.7%, and 34.3%, respectively. Furthermore, Eulerian videography was more strongly correlated with actigraphy data when compared to results from standard infrared videography. The increase in agreement between the two scorers indicates that Eulerian videography has the potential to improve the identification of sleep states in lemurs and other primates, and thus to expand our understanding of sleep architecture without the need for EEG.


Eulerian videography Sleep architecture Lemurs Primates Validation 



We thank Alexander Vining for his work in processing and preparing the Eulerian videography segment, and the entire Duke Lemur Center staff, especially Erin Ehmke and David Brewer, for their support and assistance. We also thank the editor and three anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments on an earlier version of this manuscript. EM thanks Leslie Digby for her mentorship and review of drafts of this work, and CN thanks Michael Platt for suggesting Eulerian video magnification as a means to score primate sleep. This research was supported by Duke University. This research complied with animal care regulations and applicable national laws for the collection of ethical primate research.


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Copyright information

© Japan Monkey Centre and Springer Japan KK, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Evolutionary AnthropologyDuke UniversityDurhamUSA
  2. 2.Department of AnthropologyUniversity of Toronto MississaugaMississaugaCanada
  3. 3.Duke Global Health InstituteDuke UniversityDurhamUSA

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