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Chapter 2- Observing and Recording Behavior
-Behavioral assessment; measurement of the target behavior in behavior
oImportant b/c= measuring behavior b4 treatment provides info which can
help you determine whether treatment is necessary
oCan provide info that helps you choose the best treatment
oMeasuring target behavior b4 and after treatment allows you to determine
whether behavior changes after treatment was implemented
Direct and Indirect Assessment
o2 types of behavioral assessment
o1. Indirect assessment; uses interviews, questionnaires, and rating scales to
obtain info on target behavior from person exhibiting the behavior or from
others ex. Parents, teachers, etc
o2. Direct assessment; person observes & records target behavior as it occurs.
Observe target behavior by the observer (or video camera) must be in close
proximity so the behavior can be seen or heard. *Must have precise definition
of target behavior so its occurrence can be distinguished from occurrences of
o Direct assessment more accurate b/c ppl are trained to observe behaviors.
Indirect depends on people’s memories, they weren’t sent to see the person so
they may have not seen all the times the behavior occurred.
Defining the Target Behavior
oTo develop a behavior recording plan 1st step define target behavior; identify
what person says or does which constitutes the behavioral excess or deficit
oBehavioral definition; verbs describing specific behaviors a person exhibits.
*not their intentions, or their emotions (angry, sad). Labels can also not be
used (ex he’s a bad sport) because these cannot be observed.
oInterobserver reliability/Interobserver agreement; once behavior is defined,
and when 2 people independently observe the same behavior and both record
the behavior occurred. Example of a behavioral definition and a label = when
bobby cries and sobs, lies on the floor and kicks the floor or walls, or pounds
toys or other objects on the floor, it is defined as a tantrum Label= tantrum.
Behaviors for the labels can be different for different ppl; tantrum can also be
described as screaming, yelling, etc.
The Logistics of Recording
oNext step; identify who will observe & record the behavior; someone other
than the one exhibiting the target behavior. Can be psychologist or teacher,
parent, or supervisor of the client.
oHas to be in close proximity and have the ability to record all occurrences of
the behavior; usually the recording plan does not interfere with normal
routine of the individual who is recording the behavior
oSelf monitoring; cases where observer is the person exhibiting the target
behavior; client observes and records his or her own target behavior. This
method is used when behavior does not occur very frequently or it occurs
when no one is present. Usually combined with direct observation;
psychologist directly observing and recording behavior of person who is
receiving treatment. Client has to be trained how to record behavior like a
-When and Where to Record
oObserver records behavior in specific period called observation period
oThis period is when the behavior is most likely to occur; can be determined
from indirect assessment. Must have consent from client or client’s guardian,
and state that observation can occur at times unknown to them
oObservation & recording of behavior take place in 2 settings; natural setting=
places in which target behavior typically occurs, ex. Classroom, do this in
observation periods in which the behavior occurs most often. Contrived
setting= ex. A clinical room because being in clinic is not part of the child’s
normal daily routine, in these stimulated rooms they simulated different
events & activities that child was likely to experience at home or school.
Natural more representative, however in contrived can isolated variables
that influence behavior
oObservation can be 1. Structured; observers arranges for specific events or
activities to occur during observation period ex. Assign parents to make