BOLD Cities researcher Maedeh Nasri wins the Wild Card award by the Institute of Psychology (Leiden University)

The Wild Card Award, this year, carries the theme: ‘Interdisciplinarity’. Following the Research Committee, an interdisciplinary approach is needed for tackling many of the issues facing our society today. With the theme Interdisciplinarity, the Research Committee wants to recognize PhD candidates for their contributions and efforts to bridge scientific disciplines. The theme Interdisciplinarity can be considered broadly: from a combination of disciplines (i.e., multidisciplinary scale) to a true integration of different disciplines. The individual contribution of a PhD candidate to the interdisciplinary product must be visible and relevant to be eligible for this Wild Card Award. The award ceremony took place on 19 December 2022 at the Christmas event of the Institute of Psychology in the Café of the Pieter de la Court building.

Maedeh Nasri won the award for the article ‘A Novel data-driven Approach to Examine Children’s Movements and Social Behavior in Schoolyard Environments.’ This article was written together with BOLD-researchers dr. Yung-Ting Tsou, dr. Mitra Baratchi, dr. Sarah Giest, prof. dr. Carolien Rieffe (all Leiden University) and dr. Alexander Koutamanis (TU Delft), as well as dr. Dennis Reidsma from the University of Twente. This paper is one of the outcomes of the BOLD Cities’ Team Science project: ‘Breaking the Cycle’, supported by the NWO.

In the paper, the researchers examine schoolyards to identify obstacles hindering children’s social participation using a novel sensor data-driven approach, bringing together psychology, computer science and public administration. Sarah Giest applauded Maedeh for “being a link between all the disciplines.”

For Maedeh, this is a recognition not only for her but also her team: “Interdisciplinary research is only possible through intensive collaboration among a multidisciplinary team. I’m glad to be part of this incredible team”.

Abstract of the paper

Social participation in schoolyards is crucial for children’s development. Yet, schoolyard environments contain features that can hinder children’s social participation. In this paper, we empirically examine schoolyards to identify existing obstacles. Traditionally, this type of study requires huge amounts of detailed information about children in a given environment. Collecting such data is exceedingly difficult and expensive. In this study, we present a novel sensor data-driven approach for gathering this information and examining the effect of schoolyard environments on children's behaviours in light of schoolyard affordances and individual effectivities. Sensor data is collected from 150 children at two primary schools, using location trackers, proximity tags, and Multi-Motion receivers to measure locations, face-to-face contacts, and activities. Results show strong potential for this data-driven approach, as it allows collecting data from individuals and their interactions with schoolyard environments, examining the triad of physical, social, and cultural affordances in schoolyards, and identifying factors that significantly impact children’s behaviours. Based on this approach, we further obtain better knowledge on the impact of these factors and identify limitations in schoolyard designs, which can inform schools, designers, and policymakers about current problems and practical solutions.

Read the full paper here. 

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A Novel data-driven Approach to Examine Children’s Movements and Social Behavio…