Inexpensive video cameras used by parents to record social communication in epidemiological investigations in early childhood: a feasibility study

P. A. Wilson, C Puckering, Alex McConnachie, Helen Margaret Marwick, N Reissland, Christopher Gillberg

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2 Citations (Scopus)


We tested the feasibility of parents recording social interactions with their infants using inexpensive camcorders, as a potential method of effective, convenient, and economical large scale data gathering on social communication. Participants were asked to record two short video clips during either play or a mealtime, and return the data. Sixty-five video clips (32 pairs) were returned by 33 families, comprising 8.5% of families contacted, 44.6% of respondents and 51.6% of those sent a camcorder, and the general visual and sound quality of the data was assessed.

Audio and video quality were adequate for analysis in 85% of clips and several social behaviours, including social engagement and contingent responsiveness, could be assessed in 97% of clips. We examined two quantifiable social behaviours quantitatively in both adults and infants: gaze direction and duration, and vocalization occurrence and duration. It proved difficult for most observers to obtain a simultaneous clear view of the parents and infant's face.

Video clips obtained by parents are informative and usable for analysis. Further work is required to establish the acceptability of this technique in longitudinal studies of child development and to maximize the return of usable data.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)63-71
Number of pages9
JournalInfant Behavior and Development
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2011


  • social interaction
  • infants
  • autism
  • communication
  • video camera
  • inexpensive
  • parents

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