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Behavior Monitoring Technologies Protocol

Voice and Facial Expressions Movement and Sleep

Behavior monitoring technologies have the potential to help infer internal states of participants during assessments. For consenting participants in Phase III, audio and video recordings and actigraphy data are collected. Currently available data include transcripts of recordings made after watching "The Present" and are available on LORIS and COINS. See Phenotypic Data Access page for details.


Voice and Facial Expressions

Voice analysis stands out as particularly promising, given its increasing application in psychiatry (e.g., to assess mood and anxiety), in neurology (e.g., to assess motor function in populations such as those affected by Parkinson’s disease) and in developmental studies (e.g., to assess pubertal stage). The ease with which one can record audio samples in a controlled setting is particularly appealing.

Audio-Visual Recording: During the administration of all HBN assessments and interviews, audio recordings are being collected using a portable Sony ICD-UX 533 digital voice recorder. Additionally, while in the MRI scanner, participants view an animated emotionally evocative four-minute film, entitled “The Present”; immediately after coming out of the scanner, participants are prompted to narrate the story in their own words and answer a series of perspective-taking questions that are related to the content of the film. During this narration and question answering session high-fidelity audio recordings are collected with a Rode NT1 cardioid condenser microphone.

Additionally, high-definition video of their face and upper body is collected simultaneously with a Canon XC15 digital camcorder. The audio recordings enable voice and speech analysis and the video recordings are envisioned to be useful for future analyses in facial expression.

Additional measures of voice and speech are collected during the MRI visit. These include maximum performance tasks (maximal phonation time, pitch range, and s/z ratio), tasks of speech praxis (diadochokinesis), as well as repetition of multisyllabic words, nonsense words, and a connected speech sample elicited through a reading passage.


Movement and Sleep

Actigraphy: At the final office visit, each participant is provided with a wrist-worn ActiGraph wGT3X-BT to monitor movement throughout the day and night. Participants are requested to wear the device every day for up to one month. The device is cleaned and recharged and its data are downloaded upon its return. The wGT3X-BT includes a wear-time sensor, allowing for participants to occasionally remove their devices without compromising data integrity.