Research at the Shriver Center
From its earliest days, the Shriver Center has recognized that intellectual and developmental disabilities are complex phenomena that require an integrated, interdisciplinary approach. The Center’s biobehavioral and behavioral research program has a distinct interdisciplinary, translational character. Our research in this area originally focused primarily on behavior analysis and on persons with severe disabilities where we developed more precise techniques for measuring behavioral deficits and more effective methods for circumventing or bypassing such deficits. This work continues to flourish but has also advanced to the point where we have been able to develop a major technology transfer initiative whereby the products of basic and applied research are made fully accessible to individuals who can benefit directly from the knowledge gained. Moreover, the conceptual focus of our behavioral and biobehavioral research has broadened considerably. Programs have been developed in health and wellness promotion, developmental psychology, developmental psycholinguistics, behavioral and cognitive neuroscience, and animal models of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.
Working in concert with the Center for Health Policy and Research (CHPR) of Commonwealth Medicine at the medical school, the Shriver Center has established a substantial capacity to conduct survey research to assist decision-making processes in the Massachusetts Department of Developmental Services.