Behaviour Modification - Chapter Two detailed notes

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Chapter 2 – Observing and Recording Behavior
One fundamental aspect is measuring the behavior; measurement of target behavior in behavior
modification is called behavioral assessment, its important because:
Measuring behavior before treatment gives you information to decide whether treatment
is necessary.
Behavioral assessment helps you chose the best treatment
Measuring target behavior before and after treatment allows you to determine whether
behavior has changed
Two types of behavioral assessments:
Indirect assessment: interviews, questionnaires and rating scales.
Direct assessment: Person observes and records targets behavior as it occurs. The observer must
be in close proximity so the target behavior can be seen or heard. Also the observer must have a
precise definition of the behavior so that it can be detected easily now the behavior can be
Direct assessment is more accurate because you are trained to observe the target behavior,
indirect you rely on peoples memories.
Ex school psychologist observes social interactions (direct), interviews teacher (indirect)
Steps needed to develop a behavior recording plan:
Defining the target behavior
This is the first step, identifying the excess or deficit behavior. The behavioral definition
includes active verbs describing behavior. Ex, unsportsmanlike behavior defined as
yelling, throwing hat, kicking dirt etc. No internal states or intentions were mentioned
because you cannot observe or record it. Finally labels are not used to define behavior
such as "a bad sport". Unsportsmanlike behavior can mean different things to different
people therefore the value of labels is convenient when referring to a target behavior but
the behavior must always be defined before it can be observed/recorded. When 2 or more
people independently observe/record the same behavior it is called interobserver
reliability (IOR).
Determining the logistics of recording
The observer - now you have defined the target behavior to be recorded, this step is
determining who will observe and record the behavior. The observer can be a psychologist or a
parent or teacher etc. Observer must be in close proximity with client or it can be done through
video. Observer must be trained to record target behavior. Self monitoring is when the client
observes his or her own behavior. This type of monitoring is valuable when no one else can
observe the behavior because it occurs when no one is around or it occurs infrequently.
When and where to record - observation period is the specific time in which the
observer records the target behavior, indirect assessment may indicate the best time to choose
observation period. Clients consent or clients’ parents consent it needed for this.
Observation/recording takes place in natural (classroom for students) or contrived settings
(clinical playroom for a child). Targets behavior in a natural setting provides a better sample of
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