Chapter 3 Graphing Behavior and Measuring Change
•Graph is a visual representation of the occurrence of a behavior over time.
•Behavior analysts use graphs to identify the level of behavior before treatment and after treatment
begins. They can then document changes in the behavior during treatment and make decisions
about the continued use of the treatment.
Components of a graph
•In the typical behavior modification graph, time and behavior are the two variables illustrated.
•Time is indicated on the horizontal axis (also called the x-axis, or the abscissa)
•The level of the behavior is indicated on the vertical axis (also called the y-axis or the ordinate)
Six components necessary for a graph to be complete:
•The y-axis and the x-axis.
•The labels for the y-axis and the x-axis.
•The numbers on the y-axis and the x-axis.
•A phase line is a vertical line on a graph that indicates a change in treatment. The change
can be from a no-treatment phase to a treatment phase, from treatment phase to no treatment
phase or from one treatment phase to another treatment. Data points are not connected across
•Each phase in a graph must be labeled. Most behavior modification graphs have at least two
phases that are labeled: the no treatment phase (baseline) and treatment phase.
•The purpose of a research design is to determine whether the treatment (independent variable)
was responsible for the observed change in the target behavior (dependent variable) and to rule
out the possibility that extraneous variables caused the behavior to change.
•An independent variable is what the researcher manipulates to produce a change in the target
•The target behavior is called the dependent variable.