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Chapter 2

Chapter 2

Course Code
Zachariah Campbell

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Chapter 2
Observing and Recording Behavior
Behavioral assessment measurement of the target behavior in
behavior modification
Behavioral assessment is important for:
oMeasuring behavior before treatment provides information that
can help you determine whether treatment is necessary
oProviding information that helps you choose the best treatment
oMeasuring target behavior before and after treatment allows
you to determine whether the behavior changed after the
treatment was implemented
Direct and Indirect Assessment
Indirect involves using interviews, questionnaires, and rating scales
to obtain information on the target behavior
Direct a person observes and records target behavior as it occurs
Direct is usually more accurate than indirect because indirect depends
on peoples memories
Remainder of chapter discusses direct assessment methods
1.Defining a target behavior
2.Determining the logistics of recording
3.Choosing a recording method
4.Choosing a recording instrument
(1) Defining the Target Behavior
Identify what the person says or does that constitutes the behavioral
excess or deficit targeted for change
A behavioral definition includes active verbs describing specific
behaviors a person exhibits
A behavioral definition is objective and unambiguous
Behavioral definition does not make inferences about a persons
Labels for behaviors are ambiguous they mean different things to
different people
Interobserver reliability (IOR) when two people independently
observe the same behavior and both record that the behavior occurred
**Table 2-1 (pg.24)
(2) The Logistics of Recording
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The Observer
oMay be professional or a person routinely associated with the
oObserver must be trained to identify the occurrence of the target
behavior and to record the behavior immediately
oIn some cases, the observer is the person exhibiting the target
oSelf-monitoring when the client observes and records his or
her own target behavior
oSelf-monitoring may be combined with direct observation by
another observer
When and Where to Record
oThe observer records the target behavior in a specific period
called the observation period
oIndirect assessment information from the client may indicate
the best times to schedule the observation period
oThe client/guardian must give consent to observe
oNatural setting consists of the places in which the target
behavior typically occurs; ex. Classroom; more likely to provide a
more representative sample of the target behavior
oContrived/analogue setting not part of normal daily
routine; variables easier to manipulate
oStructured the observer arranges for specific events or
activities to occur during the observation period
oUnstructured no specific events, activities, or instructions
are given during the observation period
oObservation periods are usually brief (15-30 mins)
(3) Choosing a Recording Method
Continuous Recording
oThe observer observes the client continuously throughout the
observation period and records each occurrence of the behavior
oMust be able to identify the onset and offset of each instance of
oRecord various dimensions of behavior (frequency, duration,
intensity, latency)
oFrequency recorded as rate, which is frequency divided by the
time of the observation period
oDuration may be reported as a percentage of time, which is
duration divided by the time of the observation period
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