Behavioral Research Blog

To be ravenous or to be social

Posted by Olga Krips on Feb 15, 2017

To voluntarily benefit another

Prosocial behavior, a voluntary behavior to benefit another, is an interesting concept from an evolutionary point of view. At first sight it may seem logical to be social, because everyone in the group benefits from it. But evolutionarily that does not hold up, because to propagate one’s own genes, cheating and being selfish pays. Therefore, many believe that prosocial behavior only exists because it is rewarded with social status, reputation, company, and receiving social behavior from others in return.  [1]

raven-1.jpg

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Topics: The Observer XT, coding schemes, birds, coding behavior, food

Mealtime difficulties can lead to bad nutrition in nursing homes

Posted by Jacqueline Martinali on Dec 8, 2015

I can hear you thinking already: ‘Another blog about food… it seems all they think and talk about at Noldus IT is having dinner!”.

And yes, indeed, research about the interactions that take place during mealtime has attracted my attention again. Not only because dinner is a daily reoccurring event, but also because food is important to our health; you are what you eat. This time, the research I am highlighting currently was carried out in adults with dementia, focusing on caregiver person-centeredness, and behavioral symptoms during mealtime interactions.

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Topics: The Observer XT, video observation, coding schemes, dementia, caregiver-resident interaction, person-centeredness

Understanding the impact of health information technology on doctor-patient interaction

Posted by Annelies Verkerk on Dec 12, 2014

Embracing the technological advances of the last decade, many health care professionals have incorporated information technology into their daily routines. Doctors can carry patient files around on their tablets or laptops and can quickly update a status when needed. Convenience has without a doubt increased, but does such easy access to technology impact the quality of doctor-patient interactions?

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Topics: The Observer XT, doctor patient interaction, medical encounter, coding schemes

Ladybugs and lacewings do not spy on their prey’s alarm pheromone

Posted by Olga Krips on Dec 8, 2014

Aphids and their natural enemies

Leaf sucking creatures like plant aphids are common and can cause considerable damage to plants. Therefore, quite a lot of effort is made to control these tiny creatures. And because of environmental awareness, sustainable methods to control aphids are well developed. Aphids can be controlled successfully with ladybugs (Coccinella septempunctata) and also with lacewings (Chrysoperla carnea). Both species are natural enemies of aphids.

Image ladybug - By Gilles San Martin from Namur, Belgium (Coccinella magnifica) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

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Topics: The Observer XT, coding schemes, insect behavior, insect

Picky cats and tasty food – sniffing is an indicator for tastiness

Posted by Olga Krips on Nov 20, 2014

Picky cats

Any cat owner will acknowledge the fact that cats can be extremely stubborn. They let you hear loud and clear that they want to come in, but when you open the door, they just sit at the doorstep and stare at you. And they can be extremely picky when it comes to food. If the cat doesn’t like it, it will refuse to eat. Reason enough for the pet food industry to try to find out what cats really like.

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Topics: The Observer XT, video observation, coding schemes, cats

The impact of visitor access in a shelter on the welfare of shelter dogs

Posted by Julie Harrison on Jul 31, 2014

If you’ve ever been to a shelter to adopt a dog, you know that when you walk into the holding area, the dogs can get very noisy. At the introduction of a stranger to the room their kennels are in, the dogs will start barking, which encourages the other dogs around them to bark as well. Barking has been documented as a stressor for dog, as have repetitive behavior and lots of movement. All of these behaviors seem to increase by the access of visitors to the kennel area. Lynn Hewison and colleagues decided to investigate if preventing visitor access to the dogs could lower stress levels and therefore increase general welfare of the animals.

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Topics: The Observer XT, animal-human interaction, dogs, coding schemes, animal welfare, stress research

Healthcare communication - dealing with emotions

Posted by Annelies Verkerk on Mar 25, 2014

 

The importance of dealing with emotions in medical encounters

Unfortunately, sometimes doctors have to give bad news to their patients. Communication studies have shown that breaking bad news is best be done immediately and with clear wording. What is the best step forward? From previous research, we know that hearing bad news evokes physiological arousal. In an aroused condition, it can be hard to stay focused. The information density of a medical encounter can be quite overwhelming. Since doctors explain treatment options and implications in a medical encounter, it is important that the patient recalls the information given to be able to take a well-founded decision. In a recent study, researchers gave the following advice: Clinicians should deal with patients’ emotions before providing additional medical information (Sep et al., 2014).

Affective communication

Milou Sep and colleagues explain how behavioral research techniques can help us understand and improve doctor-patient interaction. According to Sep and colleagues, a doctor can influence the information recall by using affective communication. When reassuring the patient and focusing on continued support, the doctor can help decrease evoked physiological arousal. Decreased physiological arousal then improves the level of information recall.

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Topics: The Observer XT, on-site research, video observation, doctor patient interaction, medical encounter, coding schemes

Observe police interrogations – research on adolescence

Posted by Annelies Verkerk on Feb 12, 2014

Interrogation research crosses multiple disciplines. For example, researchers will look into demographics but also investigate the techniques of interrogation. Recently, Hayley Cleary and Sarah Vidal investigated interrogations in order to describe interrogation settings and its participants in a basic way. They explain that such information about the participants and the setting is still missing and that they are particularly interested in how adolescents act in interrogation settings.

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Topics: The Observer XT, on-site research, video observation, coding schemes, adolescent behavior

Why social pigs do better

Posted by G. Smit on Jan 28, 2014

And how to study their behavior in great detail

If you want to get on in life, is it better to make friends, or should you trample down the competition? Maybe we can learn something from animals… Take hens for example, we probably all know what a ‘pecking order’ is. As a hen, if you don’t peck back, you will definitely loose out. On the other hand, if you are a pig, being social will get you somewhere. In fact, studies show that social pigs are healthier and grow better, and having social pen mates also has these positive effects.

Reimert et al. wanted to look at the behavior of social pigs more closely. In their recent study (published Applied Animal Behaviour Science), they used both video tracking and scoring of behavior to assess behavior in a combined novel location and novel object test.

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Topics: EthoVision XT, The Observer XT, animal behavior research, social behavior research, video observation, coding schemes, animal welfare, tracking, anxiety research, pigs, ethogram, Pocket Observer

Doctor-patient communication training program evaluated

Posted by Annelies Verkerk on Jan 22, 2014

Colleagues from many different universities study communication in healthcare to empower themselves in this process. Every day, new training programs find their way to hospitals and clinics in order to help professionals. From medical encounters between patient and radiation oncologists to nurse-patient interaction between direct-care staff and Korean Americans in nursing or senior living homes, all of these professionals need to be able to convey their message efficiently and effectively in order to practice their profession.

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Topics: The Observer XT, doctor patient interaction, medical encounter, coding schemes

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