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 gaming 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.



Learn more about the Behavioral Science Lab from Dr. Jacob Barkley.

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. Frank, M., A. Flynn, G. Farnell and J.E. Barkley (2018) The differences in physical activity levels in preschool children during Free Play recess and Structured Play recess. Journal of Exercise Science and Fitness 16(1): 37-42
  2. Kobak, M.S., A. Lepp, M.J. Rebold, H. Faulkner, S. Martin, and J.E. Barkley (2018) The presence of an internet-connected mobile tablet computer reduces physical activity and increases sedentary behavior in children. Pediatric Exercise Science 30(1): 150-156.
  3. Carnes A.J., E. Glickman, and J.E. Barkley (2017) Sex Differences in the Effect of peer influence on submaximal running in recreational runners. Journal of Sport Behavior, 40(4): 347-361.
  4. Barkley, J.E., A. Lepp, and E. Glickman (2017) Pokémon Go!” may promote walking, discourage sedentary behavior in college students. Games for Health Journal 6(3): 165-170.
  5. Sanders, G.J, J. Juvancic-Heltzel, M.L. Williamson, J.N. Roemmich, D.M. Feda, and J.E. Barkley (2016) The effect of increasing autonomy through choice on young children’s physical activity behaviorJournal of Physical Activity and Health. 13: 428-432.
  6. Barkley, J.E., and A. Lepp (2016) Cellular telephone use during free-living walking significantly reduces average walking speedBMC Research Notes 9:195.
  7. Carnes, A., J.L. Petersen, and J.E. Barkley (2016) The Effect of Peer Influence on Exercise Behavior and Enjoyment in Recreational RunnersJournal of Strength and Conditioning Research. 30(2): 497-503.
  8. Rebold, M.J., A. Lepp, M.S. Kobak, J. McDaniel, and J.E. Barkley (2016) The Effect of Parental Involvement on Children’s Physical Activity. Journal of Pediatrics 170: 206-210.
  9. Barkley, J.E., and A. Lepp (2016) Mobile phone use among college students is a sedentary leisure behavior which may interfere with exercise. Computers and Human Behavior. 56: 29-33. (Impact factor: 2.7)
  10. Barkley, J.E., A. Lepp, and S. Salehi-Esfahani (2016) College students’ mobile telephone use is positively associated with sedentary behavior. American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine.  10(6): 437-441.



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