IDDRC Behavior Science Core

Objective

The Behavior Science Core provides IDDRC investigators with access to facilities and expertise from three complementary disciplines at Kennedy Krieger Institute: Behavioral Psychology, Neuropsychology, and Motion Analysis. The scientists who utilize the Behavior Science Core work in various disciplines, but share a broad focus on research relevant to the effects of various factors that influence CNS development and functioning. In all of these studies, the objectives of the investigators are dependent on Behavior Science methods for objectively measuring specific aspects of performance or behavior. The Behavior Science Core supports these projects by guiding selection of appropriate measures, and training participants to cooperate with testing, assessment, and protocol-based intervention procedures.  

Behavior Science Core objectives are achieved through three phases:

  1. Development and selection of appropriate methods
  2. Pilot testing, redesign, refinement, and initial implementation by Core staff to demonstrate feasibility (when previous relevant experience is limited)
  3. Training investigators’ staff to implement the protocols and methods developed and incorporate them as a standard component of their research protocols

For projects in which the science has advanced to the point of testing interventions aimed at ameliorating the effects of CNS insult on development and functioning, participants often need training to cooperate with medical interventions (oral medication, respiratory support, pharmacotherapy, etc.). To ensure the success of these studies, the Behavior Science Core assists investigators with developing environmental and behavioral interventions to increase participant adherence to the medical protocol. Finally, in order to validate the benefits of the investigators’ intervention protocols, repeated assessments with developmental, behavioral, neuropsychological, and/or movement measures must be conducted. The Behavior Science Core collaborates in selecting or developing these procedures, and in the analysis and interpretation of the resulting data.