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

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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.

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