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Center on Human Development and Disability

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Behavioral Science Core

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Behavioral Science Core

parent and child  computer screen  behavior observation studio  computer screen  computerized head image  

Dr. Spieker
Susan Spieker, Ph.D. , Co-Director

Raphael Bernier
Raphael Bernier, Ph.D., Co-Director


The Behavioral Science Core (BSC) provides behavioral scientists with the relevant tools, knowledge, and expertise to enable them to capture and characterize normal and atypical human development. Numerous CHDD behavioral and bio-behavioral scientists are involved in collaborative research with scientists from a wide range of other disciplines. These studies require careful characterization of behavioral variation, outcomes, and phenotypes. Such characterization is becoming increasingly complex, requiring sophisticated methodologies which can capture behavior with precision at multiple levels of analysis. Core facilities in the BSC include behavioral recording systems that capture subtle timing and contingencies of behavior and social interaction. The data captured with these video recording systems are then being linked with coding systems and statistical packages.


CHDD location on the University of Washington campus   BEC location

Faculty & Staff

Raphael Bernier

Raphael Bernier, Ph.D.

Dr. Spieker

Susan J. Spieker, Ph.D.

Tom Lewis

Sally Schuh
BOL Coordinator

Tom Lewis

Tom Lewis, Ph.D. Media Engineer

Tom Lewis

Devon Bacon,
Mangold Coding Coordinator

To Use Our Services

Investigators who are interested in consulting with the Behavioral Science Core should:

Read about the equipment and services we provide, then

  • For information regarding the Behavior Observation Laboratory and Video Editing Facility, contact Sally Schuh (, 206-543-5017).

  • For information regarding the Mangold Coding Facility, contact Devon Bacon (, 206-685-9728).

Services and Facilities

Key Services

In addition to providing access to state-of-the-art BSC facilities (see below), the BSC faculty and staff provide the following types of technical expertise:

  • Consultation regarding the design and analysis of experimental and observational techniques involving video recordings

  • Consultation and training in the set-up of cameras, recording features, lighting, microphone, and video features to meet the unique needs of each study

  • Consultation and training in the use of Mangold Interact software for collecting and analyzing observational time-based coding data

  • Consultation in the operation of digital recording equipment to insure accurate recording of observational behavior with focus on capturing protocols specific to individual research goals

  • Training in editing video for experimental or presentation purposes

  • Troubleshooting all aspects of technical problems arising in developing, piloting, and implementing studies using the video recording and coding systems (see below)

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The Behavior Observation Laboratory and Coding Facilities

Although adults are often good reporters of children's behavior, there is no substitute for recording children's behavior as they interact with people and things in the Behavior Observation Laboratory. Once recorded, the behavior sample is available for study from multiple perspectives, in ways that are impossible with live observations. CHDD researchers can apply sophisticated analysis techniques that involve counting and timing, as well as examining the contingencies and sequences of behavior. These techniques contribute to our understanding of normal and atypical patterns of development, and intervention and treatment outcomes for children.

The Behavior Observation Laboratory and Coding Facility provide CHDD behavioral scientists access to state-of-the-art digital color video recording, coding, and editing capabilities.

Behavior Observation Laboratory

The Behavior Observation Laboratory provides CHDD behavioral scientists with shared audio-visual recording facilities and equipment for high-quality data collection. These facilities are designed to capture and measure a wide array of behaviors, ranging from mother-infant interaction to frame-by-frame analysis of facial expressions. We adapt these recording systems to individual investigators' needs and provide training, software, and hardware necessary for designing and conducting behavioral research.

Video image from recording studioThe four BOL studios are equipped with two wall mounted cameras located in the room with pan-tilt-zoom functions controlled remotely in an adjoining room.

Digital video cameras cover the entire floor space to follow free roaming subjects or zoom in for close-ups in staged experiments. The cameras are genlocked for frame synchronization, a digital video mixer provides for camera switching, split screen, and picture-in-picture functions, and a titler can overlay captions and burn a frame accurate time code on the screen. See example to the right of mother, child, and observer in studio CD391.

camera operatorThe digital system's small cameras are located in the room instead of behind mirrors. A computer connects to the cameras and controls their pan-tilt-zoom functions. The cameras are combined to a single video stream and time stamped. Then the data can be recorded both direct-to-DVD and to mpeg files on the computer. The DVD recorder has dual optical drives for redundant archival recordings.

Video Editing

Adobe Premiere CS 4 editing and encoding software for creating and combining video clips, adding titles and special effects (blurring faces, adding transitions, sound effects and audio narration). The digital media is then used for presentation, and further analysis and coding.

Video Duplicating

DVD recording system is available for archiving digital video (mpeg or DV formats) to DVD optical media for the generation, duplication, storage, and retrieval of data.

A video digitization system allows conversion of analog and digital formats for observational coding and presentation needs.

BOL user information page

The BSC coding stationCoding Facility

The Coding Facility of the Behavior Science Core provides CHDD behavioral scientists access to state-of-the-art digital video coding and editing capabilities. The Coding Facility has independent stations to view, score, edit, transfer and archive video data.

Mangold InterAct Coding Software enables observers to collect observational data and place notes in a secondary dataset. The software stamps each code with the time it is entered. Sequential coding can be used for discrete events, while start/stop coding can be used for overlapping or parallel events. Mangold coding software includes capabilities for statistical analysis. The functions can analyze one dataset at a time or do multiple analyses. Datasets can be merged and variable files can analyze specific portions of the dataset for ongoing reliability analyses. The program provides a summary of all the records in a dataset, complete with record numbers, codes, time codes, and descriptions. Researchers can use report files with durations and frequencies of events, to be imported into other statistical packages for further analyses.

Digital Coding Stations

The Five coding stations are equipped with internet access, MS Office Suite, a variety of media players, CD&DVD burning capabilities, and access to a network laser printer. Three coding stations have 24" flat screen monitors for high resolution images and the ability to comfortably view video data and coding software programs simultaneously. Two have 19" flat screen monitors.

Two computer stations are available for researchers coding and viewing data using applications that do not require the Mangold software.

Coding Facility user information page

University of Washington • Center on Human Development and Disability Box 357920 • Seattle WA 98195-7920 USA •
206-543-7701 •