Behavioral Research Blog

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

Why use Video Feedback in Education

Posted by Annelies Verkerk on Jul 20, 2015

By using video and audio recordings in education, students and educators can receive, and benefit from, direct feedback.

Students

Students are raised with TV and internet and are accustomed to interacting with images and videos. They are used to receiving information by watching short movie clips. On a daily basis, students find themselves browsing YouTube for information (and for fun, of course). In training and simulation situations including, for example, a simulated nurse-patient interaction, students can learn a lot. Recent research [1] tells us that it is important to first deal with emotions in a medical encounter before trying to convey an important message, such as a treatment plan.

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Topics: video observation, simulation, Viso, audio recording, video feedback, video recording

Alcohol makes men smile

Posted by Annelies Verkerk on Jul 1, 2015

“Smokers Wanted.”  That’s exactly the statement I read in the Pitt News, the daily student newspaper of the University of Pittsburgh. U Pitt’s Alcohol and Smoking Research Lab was looking for study participants, and at this specific laboratory, “Smokers Wanted” is not an unusual request. Some time ago the lab recruited around 700 (!) participants for a drinking behavior study.

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Topics: The Observer XT, video observation, Observation lab

Why not let calves choose? The dietary preferences of calves

Posted by Guest blogger on Jun 29, 2015

Today, we are proud to have another guest blogger! Laura Webb has done some interesting research at Wageningen University (The Netherlands) on the dietary preferences of calves and honored us with a blog post! Also, there is a free case study available at the end of this post!

Calves, whether raised for milk or meat production, are typically fed diets that differ from diets of feral cattle herds. For example, veal calves receive large quantities of milk replacer and solid feed with little structure to chew on, while dairy calves are weaned off milk early on and receive mostly solid feed. Diets typically fed to calves can cause a number of welfare problems, including poor stomach health as well as stress due to the inability to perform highly-motivated natural behaviours such as rumination or sucking on a teat. Furthermore, there is much research indicating that animals, and in particular ruminants, are able to select a balanced diet and maximise their comfort. So why not let calves choose?

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Topics: The Observer XT, video observation, Cows, Pocket Observer, feeding behavior,, stereotypies

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

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

Health care education and research

Posted by Annelies Verkerk on Nov 7, 2014

The use of video feedback is well established and encouraged in the world of health care education and research. Clinical encounters, behavioral protocols, and doctor-patient interactions can be evaluated. Video recording also enables the assessment of communication in great detail.

Midwife-client interaction

Evelien Spelten and colleagues set forth to gain insight into the midwife-client interaction in relation to the quality of care provided by midwives. Focusing on the first antenatal consultation, their study describes the introduction of video recording in midwifery practices for research purposes, the coding process, and the resulting dataset.

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Topics: The Observer XT, video observation, medical encounter

Measuring experiential, behavioral, and physiological outputs

Posted by Annelies Verkerk on Sep 26, 2014

In a romantic relationship, it is undoubtedly important to show support when one’s partner shares his or her accomplishments and positive life events. Retelling and reliving such events can evoke certain emotions, but the listener’s response often impacts the storyteller’s attitude as well. To simulate this process, researchers Samuel Monfort and colleagues created a structured social interaction task with couples: 1) positive event of one partner, 2) disclosure of the event to the other partner, and 3) clear communication of a capitalization response that ranged from actively destructive to enthusiastic, supportive and constructive.

Monfort and his team set out to capture a full range of emotional responses and therefore measured experiential (subjective feelings), behavioral (facial-motor activity), and physiological (skin conductance) outputs. Behavior and physiology are closely linked; as Patrick Zimmerman and his colleagues explain, more and more researchers now see the benefit of combining behavioral observations with other types of data such as heart rate, blood pressure or eye movements. By integrating multiple modalities, researchers achieve a more complete picture of the phenomena being studied.

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Topics: emotion recognition, video observation, FaceReader, facial expression analysis, physiology

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

Mixing sows: the aggression and stress of group housing on first-time sow mother

Posted by Julie Harrison on Sep 4, 2014

Social order is an important part of many animal species’ lives. Social aggression helps determine hierarchy of the animals and which animals are pushed to the bottom of the pecking order. Pigs are mixed into new social groups throughout various stages of production. Therefore, their hierarchies have the opportunity to change numerous times during their lives. In this experiment, Ison and colleagues looked at the social interaction when a mixed group of primiparous and older, unfamiliar sows were placed in group housing together.

Why group housing?

Pig farmers can choose to use either independent or group housing for their pregnant sows, however in recent years, there has been a push towards group housing. This is due to the fact that in group housing, sows are able to perform more normal behavior than they are in individual stalls. In Europe, gestation stalls can only be used for up to four weeks after breeding. In group housing, sows are able to move around freely. In this experiment, the gilts, female pigs who had never given birth before, were kept with other gilts until the most recently bred pig had reached 39 days of gestation. Then half of each of the primiparous groups (first-time mothers) was selected and mixed with multiparous sows for a week. After this week, they went back to their home pens. A week later, they were mixed with other multiparous sows for a week, before moving back to their home pens once again. This experiment reflects how often switching can occur in the social group groups of pigs throughout production.

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Topics: The Observer XT, video observation, pigs, aggression, farm animals

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