Measuring Naturalistic Proximity as a Window Into Caregiver–Child Interaction Patterns (DSI-SRP)

This DSI-SRP fellowship funded Qi Shi to work in the laboratory of Kathryn Humphreys in the Department Psychology and Human Development during the summer of 2022. Qi is a junior with majors in Medicine, Health, & Society and Psychology.

The TotTag, a device developed by the VU SEA Lab with a team of collaborators, is designed to assess proximity between device wearers on a second-by-second basis. TotTags can provide unprecedented insight into the moment-by-moment proximity dynamics between caregivers and children that we believe to be related to many developmental outcomes. Data collection using the TotTags is preliminary, and Qi’s project was designed to facilitate the visualization of the dynamic time-series data collected by the TotTags. One day of recording yields tens of thousands of proximity measurements that need to be reconciled into observable patterns of behavior. Qi researched visualization techniques, created scripts and code to apply techniques to our data, and plotted preliminary data using different visualization techniques, including context+focus plots, which allow for the “big picture” examination of patterns as well as centering on smaller portions of time, and dynamic systems plots, which enable us to visually compare pairs within the same family unit across recording days.

As data collection using TotTags ramps up, Qi is excited to continue working on visualization techniques that allow her to see how patterns of proximity change across time within the same family, and how patterns are different across different families. The skills that Qi learned this summer during her DSI-SRP will be valuable as she continues her work in the SEA Lab.

In addition to receiving support through a DSI-SRP fellowship, this project was supported and facilitated by the DSI Data Science Team through their regular summer workshops and demo sessions.