Want to learn a bit more about what type of activities and tools we use to measure various factors in our research? Some our common assessments are described below. Not all of these are included in every study.
We use activity monitors, often worn on the wrist (like a watch) or hip (on an elastic band like a belt), that measure movement through accelerometry (how fast one moves and how frequently). The amount one is moving is used to estimate physical activity levels and sleep. Some monitors that we use may also measure light and heart rate. Currently our lab uses ActiGraph (GT9X Link and GT3X+), Activinsights (GENEActiv), and Fitbit (Charger 5) devices.
We use portable EEG devices that can measure the electrical activity of the brain while you are sleeping (referred to as polysomnography). The patterns of your brain's electrical activity (along with activity of your eye muscles and sometimes chin muscles) when displayed as waves on a screen can tell us about your sleep stages and other sleep related physiological factors that we are interested in. We currently use the Mentalab Explore+ and General Sleep Corporation's Machine Insight+ systems.
We are interested in a variety of cognitive functions such as executive function (working memory, inhibition, cognitive flexibility), declarative memory (remembering information and events), and procedural memory (remembering how to do something such as riding a bike). To measure cognition, we utilize a variety of behavioral assessments where participants will play a 'game' of some sort, often on an iPad or computer screen. Some examples of tools we use are the NIH Toolbox and Early Years Toolbox iPad apps, the Weschler Preschool & Primary Scale of Intelligence, and memory tasks developed by collaborating researchers.
Motor Skills & Fitness
Kinesiology is the study of human movement. So, of course we are interested in learning about how someone moves, the development of their movement skills, and how well their body moves. We use assessments for both fine motor (e.g., peg-board test) and gross motor skills (e.g., timed up and go, one-leg standing balance test, and standing long jump). We can measure one's fitness through a range of measures such as a components of the FitnessGram battery (hand grip test, push-up test, pull-ups/supine pulls, PACER test), and laboratory-based cardiorespiratory fitness assessments using a cycle ergometer (bike) or treadmill protocol.