Behavioral Science Lab | Kent State University

Behavioral Science Lab

The laboratory focuses on physical activity behavior, primarily in the pediatric population.  Recent studies have focused on identifying and better understanding several factors that influence physical activity behavior in children such as; peer relationships, physically interactive gameing and manipulating the variety of exercise options.  These studies combine aspects of exercise science, psychology and physiology in an effort to elucidate the complex nature of why some children are very active while others are sedentary. 

The lab is presently equipped to perform a wide array of measures including, but not limited to; exercise tests, anthropometric measures, and assessments of relative reinforcing (motivating) value.  Nearby gymnasium space is also regularly utilized to re-create a naturalistic physical activity environment for participants.

Current Projects

What is the role of peer influence on physical activity?

 Assessing the impact of ostracism on physical activity behavior in eight to 12 year old children as well as determining the effect the presence of a friend has on physical activity behavior in young children (four to six years of age).  

investigation with kids

How do electronic devices influence physical activity?

Examining the potential impact of the use of mobile electronic devices (e.g., cellular telephones, tablet computers) on a variety of health behaviors and outcomes such as: physical activity, planned exercise, sedentary behavior, sleep, anxiety, depression and overall quality of life.

Does the efficacy of pain management influence physical activity?

A collaborative line of studies with a local medical group examining how pain intervention therapies, medical devices and medications affect physical activity behavior in patients with chronic pain disorders (e.g., failed back surgery syndrome).  We are most interested in assessing whether or not changes in physical activity behavior are related to the efficacy of pain management.

Does parent behavior provide a cue for physical activity?

Examining the causal impact of parental influence on their children's physical activity behavior.  Many studies have demonstrated a relationship between parental physical activity and that of their child.  However, there is a paucity of experimental data examining whether or not parents can cause a change in their children's physical activity through simple behavioral cues (e.g., direct supervision, co-participation).  We are working to fill these gaps.

Recent Publications

Dr. Barkley's research training is in pediatric exercise physiology and behavioral medicine. His current research focuses on factors that affect a child's motivation to participate in physical activity. This includes examining the effects of variety, peer influence and adiposity on the decision to participate in physical or sedentary activities. He also has an interest in biostatistics and research design.

Read Dr. Barkley's complete CV

1. Lepp, A., J.E. Barkley, and A. Karpinski. (2014) The Relationship between Cell Phone Use, Academic Performance, Anxiety, and Satisfaction with Life in College Students, Computers and Human Behavior. 31: 343-350.2.

2. Barkley, J.E., S.J. Salvy, G.J. Sanders, S. Dey, K.P. Von Carlowitz, and M.L. Williamson. (2014) Peer Influence and Physical Activity Behavior in Young Children; an Experimental Study. Journal of Physical Activity and Health Journal of Physical Activity and Health. 11, 404-409.

3. Barkley, J.E., S.J. Salvy, G.J. Sanders, S. Dey, K.P. Von Carlowitz, and M.L. Williamson (2013). Peer Influence and Physical Activity Behavior in Young Children; an Experimental Study.  Journal of Physical Activity and Health. Jan 28.

4. Juvancic-Heltzel, J.A., E.L. Glickman and J.E. Barkley (2013). The Effect of Variety on Physical Activity: a Cross-Sectional Study.  Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. 27(1):244-251

5. Lepp, A., J.E. Barkley, G.J. Sanders, M. Rebold and P. Gates. (2013). College Students' Cell Phone Use and Cardiorespiratory Fitness: A Negative Relationship. International Journal ofBehavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity. 10(1): 79. Rittenhouse, M.A., and J.E. Barkley. (2013). Self-reported peer victimization and objectively measured physical activity behavior in boys; a quasi-experimental study. Journal of Exercise Physiology online. 16(3): 84-92.

6. Pollock, B.S., J.E. Barkley, N. Potenzini, R.M. DeSalvo, S.L. Buser, R. Otterstetter, J.A. Juvancic-Heltzel (2013). Validity of Borg Ratings of Perceived Exertion During Active Video Game Play. International Journal of Exercise Science. 6(2): 164-170.

7. Carnes, A.J., J.E. Barkley, M. Williamson, and G.J. Sanders. (2013) The Presence of a Familiar Peer Does Not Affect Intensity or Enjoyment during Treadmill Exercise in Male Distance Runners or Non-Runners Journal of Athletic Enhancement. 2:4.

8. Feda, D.M., M.J. Lambiase,J.E. Barkley, and J.N. Roemmich (2012). Effect of Increasing the Variety of Active Toys on Children's Active Play. The Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport. 15(4):334-40, 15(4):334-40.

9. Barkley, J.E., S.J. Salvy, and J.N. Roemmich. (2012) The Effect of Simulated Ostracism on Physical Activity Behavior in Children. Pediatrics. doi:10.1542/peds.2011-0496.

10. Sanders, G.J., A.S. Santo, C.A. Peakock, K.P. Von Carlowitz, and J.E. Barkley Physiologic Responses, Liking and Motivation for Playing a Video Game on a Physically Interactive Versus a Traditional Gaming System. (2012)T. he International Journal of Exercise Physiology. 5(2):160-169.

11. Salvy, S.J., J.C. Bowker, L.A. Nitecki, M.A. Kluczynski, and J.E. Barkley. Influence of Peers and Friends on Overweight/Obese Youths' Physical Activity. (2012). Exercise and Sport Sciences Reviews. 40(3): 127-132.

12. Roemmich, J.N., C.L. Lobarinas, J.E. Barkley, T.M. White, R. Paluch, and L.H. Epstein. Use of an Open-loop System to Increase Physical Activity. (2012) Pediatric Exercise Science. 24(3):384-98.

13. Barkley, J.E., and J.N. Roemmich. (2011)Validity of Pediatric RPE Scales When Different Exercise Intensities are Completed on Separate Days. Journal of Exercise Science and Fitness. 9(1): 52-57, 9(1): 52-57.

14. Barkley, J.E., J.N. Roemmich, E.J. Ryan, D. Bellar and M.V. Bliss. (2010) Variety of Exercise Equipment and Physical Activity Participation in Children.  Journal of Sport Behavior. In-press.  Accepted for publication (2-23-2010).

15. Penko, A., and J.E. Barkley.  (2010) Motivation and Physiologic Responses of Playing a Physically Interactive Video Game Relative to a Sedentary Alternative in Children. Annals of Behavioral Medicine.  DOI 10.1007/s12160-010-9164-x.

16. Barkley, J.E., J.N. Roemmich and L.H. Epstein. (2009) Reinforcing Value of Interval and Continuous Physical Activity in Children.  Physiology and Behavior. 98: 31-36.

17. Rittenhouse, M.A., and J.E. Barkley. (2009) The Effect of Peer Influence on the Amount of Physical Activity Performed in 8-12 Year Old Boys.  Medicine and Science in Sport and Exercise, 41(5) Supplement: S92-93, May 2009.

18. Barkley, J.E., A. Penko. (2009) Physiologic Responses, Perceived Exertion and Hedonics of Playing a Physically Interactive Video Game Relative to a Sedentary Alternative and Treadmill Walking in Adults.  Journal of Exercise Physiology online.  12(3):12-23.

19. Barkley, J.E., and J.N. Roemmich. (2008)  Validity of the CALER and OMNI-Bike Ratings of Perceived Exertion. Medicine and Science in Sport and Exercise. 40(4): 760-66.


If you want to learn more about the Behavioral Science Laboratory, please contact Dr. Barkley at or 330-672-2857.