Psychiatric research

A psychiatric disorder, or mental disorder, is a behavioral or mental pattern that causes significant distress or impairment of personal functioning. Mental disorders are usually defined by a combination of how a person behaves, feels, perceives, or thinks. They can lead to all sorts of problems, such as school dropout, depression, alcohol abuse, and family problems. These consequences are reason enough to ensure that these symptoms are detected and, if necessary, treated in an early stage.

Observing psychiatric behavior

Behavioral observations are important tools in psychiatric research. Questions like ‘What are the consequences of traumatic stress exposure in childhood?’, ‘Does social anxiety relate to a lower level of Theory of Mind?’, and ‘Do people with an eating disorder show less facial effect?’ are a few of the research questions that can be answered by observing behavior.

Recording detailed observations with Viso

Research often takes place in an institute or in a lab. In a lab there are often standardized trials where video recordings are the main source of information. Behaviors such as making eye contact, formulating clear and coherent sentences, ability to keep focused, can all be recorded and coded with Viso. A Pan Tilt Zoom camera can track participants who would have otherwise moved out of the camera’s field of vision.

An AV lab is designed to allow you to observe your test participants unobtrusively, in an environment similar to your test participant’s natural surroundings. Check out this ‘how to’ guide, providing you with the perfect tips & tricks! 

Powerful analysis options

Researchers analyze the video material afterwards with The Observer® XT. They often work in multidisciplinary teams, where each member contributes his own expertise.

Behavioral parameters can easily be combined with other information such as rating scales and information from medical files.

The Observer XT

Try The Observer XT for yourself

Request a FREE trial and see for yourself how easy behavioral research can be!

  • Work faster by automating tedious repeating tasks
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  • Get better data by using The Observer XT’s powerful analysis options

Examples of psychiatric studies

  • Jessica Lougheed and colleagues set up a study in order to understand how adolescents’ emotions are socialized by their mothers and close friends. The study is a first step towards understanding the microsocial processes in both maternal and peer relationships that can factor into regulating  adolescent depressive symptoms.
  • Researchers Colonnesi et al. of the University of Amsterdam investigated whether social anxiety in 4 year-olds is related to a lower level of theory of mind, a lower tendency to express shyness in a positive way, or a higher tendency to express shyness in a negative way.
  • Losing a close family member, seeing a dead body, being separated from your loved ones, witnessing gigantic waves: these are all traumatic events. Going through such a trauma can result in onset of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Researchers of the National Research Institute for Child Health and Development in Tokyo used FaceReader to analyze the faces of children exposed to the Great East Japan Earthquake.

Interesting publications

Diverse scientific articles citing Noldus products are published in renowned journals each week. The following list is only a small selection of scientific publications in psychiatric research.

Several of these articles were used in our behavioral research blog. Don’t want to miss new blog posts? Stay up-to-date and subscribe now! You will receive updates of new blogposts every month.

  • Colonnesi, C.; Nikolić, M.; Vente, W. de & Bögels, S.M. (2016). Social Anxiety Symptoms in Young Children: Investigating the Interplay of Theory of Mind and Expressions of Shyness. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, DOI 10.1007/s10802-016-206-0
  • Corbett, B.A.; Swain, D.M.; Newson, C.; Wang, L.; Song, Y.; Edgerton, D. (2013). Biobehavioral profiles of arousal and social motivation in autism spectrum disorders. The Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, doi:10.1111/jcpp.12184
  • Darcy, A.M.; Bryson, S.W.; Agras, W.S.; Fitzpatrick, K.K.; Le Grange, D.; Lock, J. (2013). Do in-vivo behaviors predict early response in family-based treatment for anorexia nervosa? Behaviour Research and Therapy, 51, 762-766.
  • Fuijwara, T., Mizuki, R., Miki T. & Chemtob, C. (2015). Association between facial expression and PTSD symptoms among young children exposed to the Great East Japan Earthquake: a pilot study. Frontiers in Psychology, 6, article 1534.
  • Leppanen J.; Dapelo M.M.; Davies H.; Lang K.; Treasure J.; Tchanturia K. (2017) Computerised analysis of facial emotion expression in eating disorders. PLoS ONE 12(6): e0178972. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0178972
  • Lougheed, J.P.; Craig, W.M.; Pepler, D.; Connolly, J.; O’Hara, A.; Granic, I.; Hollenstein, T. (2015). Maternal and peer regulation of adolescent emotion: associations with depressive symptoms. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, doi:10.1007/s10802-015-0084-x.

Are you, by chance, looking for more information about autism research? You can find it here.