The difficulties of recording people's daily lives without impacting on their normal routines prove a real challenge for researchers interested in normal human behaviour and is the subject up for discussion at the latest Café Scientifique event tomorrow.
‘Daily life under the microscope’ will see Dr Dan Powell from the Rowett Institute of Nutrition and Health at the University of Aberdeen lead the discussion into how researchers try to track human behaviour outside of the lab to inform research on subjects such as diet and exercise.
Dr Powell said: “Mobile technologies allow us to track our behaviours, psychological processes and physiological measures over time. Researchers increasingly use this window into the ‘real world’ outside of the lab and I will discuss the pros and cons of using this kind of data.
“I’ll be talking about various devices (smartphone apps, standalone devices like PDAs or electronic wristwatches, heart rate monitors, accelerometers, GPS) and other means of monitoring behaviour and/or physiology.
“The most obvious pros are in being able to take research out into the “real world”, conduct investigations in “real time”, and start to look at changes and fluctuations within individuals. The cons are less obvious, but there are some that I’ll get into, including measurement reactivity, potentially excessive participant burden, and missing data.
The event is part of the University of Aberdeen’s popular Cafe Scientifique series which is hosted by the University’s Public Engagement with Research Unit. The Café Scientifique series, invites leading experts to share the latest in scientific research with the public in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere. This is set to be an informal and inspiring night aimed at the general public with plenty of time for questions. The event will be held at 7pm in Waterstones on Wednesday 14 September and is free to attend.
Full details of the series and other events in the University’s wider programme can be found at www.engagingaberdeen.co.uk
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