Measurement systems are a vital part of Applied Behavioral Analysis. Without them we won’t be able to see the client’s process or functional control between the independent and dependent variables. If the wrong measurement system is used that means that a wrong dimension of behavior is measured which makes the data collected invalid. In this explanation, we discuss what accurate measurement system to use depending on the situation and what needs intervention.

    Measurements (tools we use to take data)

o   Duration- 

  • Used with discrete behavior 
  •   It is the duration of the time it takes when the behavior starts and finishes 
  •   Example: This is used when the BCBA wants to measure the length of behavior (how long when the behavior starts and ends). If the BCBA wants the client to finish homework in total 10 minutes (the behavior time when it starts and ends) they will take data on duration and baseline.

o   IRT –

  •   Used with Discrete behavior
  •   Multiple occurrences of same behavior (response classes) in which there is pause between the consecutive behaviors and that pause is the inter-response time  
  •   To use when there is a concern with pause in between consecutive behaviors 
  •   Example: If the consecutive behaviors are happening too fast after each other (pause is small) and the BCBA wants to decrease it, then they use IRT measurement for data collection and baseline and use an intervention that increases the pause between consecutive behaviors 

o   Latency 

  •  SD —-> response
  •  Latency is the pause (the highlighted part) between the first presentation of a SD and the response. 
  • Example: If the SD is presented that will evoke a certain response- the time between the SD and that response is latency. If there is too much delay between the presentation of SD and the response, BCBA can work on decreasing that time and measure latency to take data and baseline.

o   Count 

  •   Used with discrete behavior 
  • It is the count of behavior (the number of times the behavior occurs)
  • AKA: frequency 
  •   It is only used if the measure of time is the same in the sessions you are taking data 
  • Example: A BCBA is taking count of client discrete behavior two days in a role- each session was 45 minutes long. This is used when you want to decrease the occurrence of behavior in specific time 
  •  

o   Rate 

  •  Used with discrete behavior 
  •   DON’T USE WITH DTI- because in DTI the behavior is evoked purposefully 
  •  It is the measurement most used in the field 
  • This is more accurate than frequency.
  •   For example: a BCBA is taking the number of occurrences and then divide by the duration of observation. This is used when you want to decrease the rate of behavior (amount of occurrence in a time)

o   Trials to Criterion

  •   Used with discrete behavior 
  •   This used when the BCBA wants to know how long it took for the skill of criteria to be reached 
  •   Trails or blocks (the whole session)
  •   For example: The BCBA wants to know how long it took for the client to meet criteria of reading 10 per minute for 3 conservative days. 

o   Percentage of occurrence

  • Used for discrete 
  •   This is used when the BCBA wants to measure correct/accurate occurrence of behavior divided by the number of opportunities presented to that behavior to occur
  •  Used mostly with skill acquisition 
  •   For example: The BCBA wants to know how many times the client greeted his peers, by saying “HI!”, every time there is an opportunity to engage in that behavior (greeting peers)

o    Magnitude 

  • Used to increase force, intensity of a behavior 
  • For example: The BCBA wants the client to talk in a louder voice when speaking to peers. The measurement that will be used is magnitude because you are increase the intensity of the client’s voice 

o   Topography

  • Used to modify the form of behavior. If the form of the behavior is the problem of hindering skill acquisition 
  • For example: The BCBA wants the Client to hold the spoon by gripping using thumb and index figure to eat without spilling food. The measurement would be topography because the BCBA is modifying the form of gripping the spoon.

o   Partial interval  

o   Whole interval

  • Used for behavior that are is continuous (no clear start or end)
  •   Partial and whole interval (Says BO- pretend that the whole top box is the interval of time- so if you fill the whole interval space with BOs (4 BOs) that means it happened the whole interval)
BO BO BOBOBOBO BO BO BOBO BO 
    +  +    ++  +100%
  –    –+20%

§  Here the Partial is overestimating. It is showing + on all of them when he might have just said one BO. So, if you want to decrease a behavior you use that.

§  Here the whole is underestimating. It is showing – when it might have occurred. So, you want to use this to increase behavior because to get + you have engaged in the behavior the whole interval.

o   Momentary time sampling 

§  This is used for continuous behavior 

§  It can over or underestimates

§  The benefit of using it is when the observer is busy and that can sustain observing the whole interval 

   Questions

Measurement systems are a vital part of Applied Behavioral Analysis. Without them we won’t be able to see the client’s process or functional control between the independent and dependent variables. If the wrong measurement system is used that means that a wrong dimension of behavior is measured which makes the data collected invalid. In this explanation, we discuss what accurate measurement system to use depending on the situation.

Measurements (tools we use to take data)

o   Duration

  • Used with discrete behavior 
  •  It is the duration of the time it takes when the behavior starts and finishes 
  •   Example: This is used when the BCBA wants to measure the length of behavior (how long when the behavior starts and ends). If the BCBA wants the client to finish homework in total 10 minutes (the behavior time when it starts and ends) they will take data on duration and baseline.

o   IRT 

  • Used with Discrete behavior
  •  Multiple occurrences of same behavior (response classes) in which there is pause between the consecutive behaviors and that pause is the inter-response time  
  •   Used when there is a concern with pause in between consecutive behaviors 
  • Example: If the consecutive behaviors are happening too fast after each other (pause is small) and the BCBA wants to decrease it, then they use IRT measurement for data collection and baseline. Use an intervention that increases the pause between consecutive behaviors. 

o   Latency 

  •   SD —-> response
  • Latency is the pause (the highlighted part) between the first presentation of a SD and the response. 
  •  Example: If the SD is presented that will evoke a certain response- the time between the SD and that response is latency. If there is to much delay between the presentation of SD and the response, the BCBA can work on decreasing that time and measure latency to take data and baseline.

o   Count 

  • Used with discrete behavior 
  •  It is the count of behavior (the number of times the behavior occurs)
  •   AKA: frequency 
  • It is only used if the measure of time is the same in the sessions you are taking data 
  • Example: A BCBA is taking count of client discrete behavior two days in a role- each session was 45 minutes long. This is used when you want to decrease and increase the occurrence of behavior in specific time 

o   Rate 

  •   Used with discrete behavior 
  •   DON’T USE WITH DTI- because in DTI the behavior is evoked purposefully 
  •   It is the measurement most used in the field 
  •  This is more accurate than frequency.
  •   For example: a BCBA is taking the number of occurrences and then divides by the duration of observation. This is used when you want to decrease and increase the rate of behavior (amount of occurrence in a specific time)

o   Trials to Criterion

  •  Used with discrete behavior 
  •   This is used when the BCBA wants to know how long it took for the skill of criteria to be reached 
  • Trails or blocks (the whole session)
  •   For example: The BCBA wants to know how long it took for the client to meet criteria of reading 10 words per minute for 3 conservative days. 

o   Percentage of occurrence

  •   Used for discrete behaviors
  •  This is used when the BCBA wants to measure correct/accurate occurrences of behavior divided by the number of opportunities presented for that behavior to occur
  •   Used mostly with skill acquisition 
  •  For example: The BCBA wants to know how many times the client greeted his peers, by saying “HI!”, every time there is an opportunity to engage in that behavior (greeting peers)

o    Magnitude 

  •   Used to increase force, intensity of a behavior 
  •  For example: The BCBA wants the client to talk in a louder voice when speaking to peers. The measurement that will be used is magnitude because you increase the intensity of the client’s voice 

o   Topography

  •  Used to modify the form of behavior. If the form of the behavior is the problem hindering skill acquisition 
  •   For example: The BCBA wants the Client to hold the spoon by gripping using their thumb and index figure to eat without spilling food. The measurement would be topography because the BCBA is modifying the form of gripping the spoon.

o   Partial interval and Whole interval

  •   Used for behavior that are is continuous (no clear start or end)
  •   Partial and whole interval (Says BO- pretend that the whole top box is the interval of time- so if you fill the whole interval space with BOs (5 BOs) that means it happened the whole interval)
  •  Here the Partial interval is overestimating. It is showing (+) on all of them when he might have just said one BO. So, if you want to decrease a behavior you use this measurement system.
  •   Here the whole interval is underestimating. It is showing (–) when the behavior might have occurred. So, you want to use this to increase behavior because to get (+) in an interval the client must engage in the behavior the whole time of the interval.
BO BO BOBOBOBO BO BO BOBO BOTotal 
    +  +    ++  +100%
  –  –+20%

O Momentary time sampling 

  •   This is used for continuous behavior 
  •  It can over or underestimates
  •  The benefit of using this measurement system is when the observer is busy and can not sustain observing the whole interval duration. 

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