Behavioral Research Blog

Comparing two different skin-to-skin contact techniques

Posted by Jacqueline Martinali on Nov 23, 2016

And how they influence mother-child interaction with premature babies.

Three times I have experienced how it feels to hold my newborn baby in my arms. To feel that warm, small, naked body on top of you, the baby that is yours and grew inside you…that is probably the most precious gift I have ever experienced.
The little baby that just left the warm space it has spent all those months, and now exposed to the outside world - the only thing he or she needs is to feel safe with his or her mother or father.

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Topics: The Observer XT, video observation, parent-child interaction, eye-contact, kangaroo positioning, safety

How in-home video recordings provide accurate measure and allow for more objective comparisons

Posted by Annelies Verkerk on Jun 28, 2016

Who doesn’t know Jo Frost, A.K.A. the Super Nanny [1]? Her television show has aired across Europe, the UK and the US; currently, she  is starring in a Netherlands-based version, where she visits Dutch families. Although I don’t have any kids, I watch this show quite regularly with great interest to see how families function.

This super nanny keeps telling parents that children also have to eat healthy as part of her program to correct poor behavior. Many parents forget how proper nutrition can influence behavior. But many parents then ask: how do we get our kids to eat more fruits and vegetables?

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Topics: The Observer XT, parent-child interaction, Eating behavior, child, child development, health effects

Understanding adolescent emotions

Posted by Annelies Verkerk on Apr 12, 2016

I was waiting for my exam results, and so was the son of our neighbors. And then there was a bang. A really loud one. I could guess the outcome of his exam simply by hearing that bang.

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Topics: The Observer XT, parent-child interaction, adolescent behavior, coding behavior, depression

Become and stay aware about children with autism

Posted by Jacqueline Martinali on Apr 6, 2016

Last week I had a chat with a friend of mine whose eldest son (8 years old) was diagnosed several years ago with Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD). She told me about a conversation she and her husband had with a speech therapist, who explained to them that when someone asks their son a question or tells him something to do, it usually takes 7 seconds before his brain processed this information. Imagine that, 7 seconds – that’s quite a lot. In those 7 seconds many other words can be said or questions can be asked. But for this little boy it means that it is important to speak slowly and give one instruction at a time, or you will likely get little to no response, or only partial task completion.

Become and stay aware about children with autism

When there is a lack of understanding, you don’t realize that he needs this time to see the whole picture. When you have to deal with this over and over again, every single day, you can become very frustrated and annoyed by the child’s seeming failure to understand, or worse, lack of desire to listen.

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Topics: The Observer XT, autism research, parent-child interaction, child, social cognition, ASD, theatre, autism

What, Why and How to learn in a museum

Posted by Jacqueline Martinali on Dec 29, 2015

In the Netherlands we have a so called “museum card” which allows you to visit museums for free. In the last few years I visited quite a few of them together with my children. In Amsterdam we saw the ‘Nachtwacht’ in the Rijksmuseum, did science experiments at Nemo, and learned about how the sea has shaped our Dutch culture at The National Maritime Museum. We have also visited the ‘Openluchtmuseum’ (Netherlands Open Air Museum) in Arnhem several times, because this one is the closest to us. At this museum you can learn a lot about how people lived in the past, and the objects they used for cooking their meals, brewing beer, doing the laundry, and so on. Each and every time we visit this museum, my children and I discover new facts. It’s a great learning environment, but what do my children actually recall of these many museum visits?

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Topics: The Observer XT, parent-child interaction, video recording, developmental psychology, Wh-questions, coding behavior, transfer of information

Positive Behavior Support: Good behavior can be learned

Posted by Jacqueline Martinali on Nov 4, 2015

‘Mom, what's for dinner tonight?’ It’s a daily recurring question from my children. Having dinner is an important part of the day and also a way for parents or caregivers to influence a child's diet. With the observed increase in pediatric obesity in recent years, a child’s family, particularly his parents, may influence eating behavior, diet, and physical activity through their parenting and food choices. Some factors that affect eating behavior can be: what and how much food do parents serve their children? To what extent do they encourage their children to eat healthy food instead of unhealthy food? It’s important to raise awareness amongst parents of young children of the consequences of unhealthy eating habits, and teach them to create a healthy nutritional environment for their children.

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Topics: The Observer XT, parent-child interaction, Eating behavior, Observation, Positive Behavior Support

Information gap makes children guess

Posted by Annelies Verkerk on Aug 3, 2015

When children lack information, they make up stories by adding up their own guesses. Their imagination can run wild: all elephants are pink, right? This kind of reasoning is undesirable when trying to explain a rare disorder of a sister or brother. Guesswork may result in incorrect illness explanations and might cause related miscommunication or behavioral problems. When we learn more about how siblings describe illnesses, we might be able to appropriately assist family counselors and parents.

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Topics: The Observer XT, video observation, parent-child interaction, developmental psychology, conversation analysis

Three things we take with us from 2014

Posted by Annelies Verkerk on Dec 23, 2014

As the year comes to a close, the results are crystal clear.

We have rounded up the top three most viewed blog posts of 2014 in psychology, neuromarketing, and autism research.

Interested? Read on!

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Topics: autism research, parent-child interaction, parent-infant dyads, Neuromarketing

Behavioral video analysis supports Rett syndrome research

Posted by Annelies Verkerk on Nov 25, 2014

Rett syndrome (RTT) is a severe progressive neurodevelopmental disorder. It affects girls almost exclusively and is characterized by normal early growth and development followed by a slowing of development, loss of purposeful use of the hands, distinctive hand movements, slowed brain and head growth, problems with walking, seizures, and intellectual disability (Rett Syndrome Fact Sheet, 2014). In the study discussed in this blog post, the researchers indicated that normal cooing and babbling were absent in the first two years of life. They also observed finger movements and found that they occurred sporadically with limited variability. Let us zoom in on this original article published in the Journal of Developmental and Physical Disabilities.

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Topics: The Observer XT, video observation, parent-child interaction

A mathematical genius..? What parents can do

Posted by Annelies Verkerk on Sep 16, 2014

In a recent study, Dr. Joanne Lee and colleagues from Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, Canada, investigated early mathematics learning during the first 3 years of life. Because numerous studies already provide evidence of the importance of gesture use, Lee and her team specially focused on examining specific types of gestures produced by parents in math-related talk.

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Topics: The Observer XT, on-site research, video observation, parent-child interaction

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