Physical, Behavioral and Spatiotemporal Perspectives of Home in Humans and Other Animals

  • Efrat Blumenfeld-Lieberthal
  • David Eilam
Conference paper
Part of the Springer Proceedings in Complexity book series (SPCOM)


Home is usually considered as a physical construct of residence. In both humans and non-humans it has a functional partitioning into room for living, storage, toilets and other defined activities or services. Home is first and foremost where a set of behaviors are performed at rates higher than anywhere else; in rats, home is defined by sleeping, long stays, food hoarding and parental behavior. Another conspicuous feature of home is identity, which is constituted by the collection of inanimate objects, furnishings and gadgets that personalize each individual’s home. Security is another aspect: home is where you feel safe, and your privacy is protected. Moreover, home behavior is a strong trait that it is manifested even when a physical home is lacking, such as in the case of homeless humans and other animals. Finally, spatiotemporal behavior in the living environment is organized in relation to the home. Indeed, home is a hub for activity, with both humans and non-humans taking trips out from and back to their home, traveling regularly along the same paths and usually stopping at the same locations along them. While there are obvious differences between humans and animals, there are many similarities, and by focusing on the latter, it is suggested that similar biobehavioral systems in humans and non-humans account for the convergence of home behavior to these similar traits.


Home Range Round Trip Homeless People Home Base Burrow System 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Parts of this study were performed with the support of The Israel Science Foundation ( grant 1681/15 to E.B-L and grants 471/04, 177/09, 230/13 to D.E. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish or preparation of the manuscript.

I am grateful to Naomi Paz for editorial assistance.


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© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The David Azrieli School of ArchitectureTel Aviv UniversityTel AvivIsrael
  2. 2.Department of ZoologyTel-Aviv UniversityTel AvivIsrael

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