PSY7713 Applying Data Introduction to Effectively Change Human Behavior
This paper will apply data measurement, data display, and data-based decisions to effectively change human behavior. The process of measurement used for this case study will be analyzed and explained. A graph will be applied to visually show data. Lastly, data-based decisions will justify the form of data display will be described.
This case study will focus on the noncompliance of a 22 year old female. Noncompliance is defined as any time the individual is asked to perform or carry out a task and she does not take action to do so for the 60 seconds following the direction. Her actions must be towards the completion of the task asked of her and nothing else.
If she is sitting on the couch and asked to clean her dishes she must make movement towards the dishes. If she gets up but goes to get water this is noncompliant behavior. While she did get off the couch, she did not make any action towards the task asked of her.
Lipschultz and Wilder (2017) describe noncompliance as a common behavior problem and being defined more specifically as doing anything other than what was originally asked or requested within a specific time frame. Noncompliance falls within the “dead person behavior” concept that Malott and Suarez (2004) explain as behavior that a dead person can exhibit is not actually a behavior.
Therefore, simply ignoring something/someone is something a dead person can do and does not makes that lack of action a behavior. Noncompliant behavior is socially significant for this individual to be successful as a self-sufficient adult and remain employed.
The environment in which this case study will be performed is the work place of the 22 year old female. She will be able to be observed without interference to her job duties and responsibilities. Cooper, Heron, & Heward (2007) explain that systematic observation enhance the understanding of a given phenomenon, because it allows the researcher the ability to accurately describe the events in a quantified and classified manner.
If the woman is asked to stock the refrigerator with water, she will first need to get out of her seat and move towards the refrigerator and water. However, if she takes 30 seconds to get up, then takes another 30 seconds to play with the water bottles, she is still exhibiting noncompliant behavior. While she did get up and make movement towards the water, she did not take action to comply with the directions.
Cooper, Heron, & Heward (2007) explain that applied behavior analysts need to measure behavior and use data displays to visually depict the data to assist them in obtaining answers to questions about the relationship between socially significant behavior and environmental variables.
A line graph has been used to disply the observations of the subject’s noncompliant behavior. Cooper, Heron, & Heward (2007) describe graphs as a relatively simple format with which to display relationships between a series of measurements and relevant variables. It is how people “make sense” of quantitative information.
The line graphs is the most common data display option in behavior analysis (Cooper, Heron, & Heward 2007). The horizontal axis, also known as the x axis, most often represents time and/or the value of the independent variable. The vertical axix, also known as the y axis is always some kind of quantifiable dimension of behavior Cooper, Heron, & Heward (2007).
This case study would not benefit from a bar graph. While used in some cases, this particular case it would not be appropriate for another type of visual display like pie charts, bar graphs, or a combination style graph. These are data display options that are beneficial for some things, however they are not the most appropriate method for this applied behavior analysis instance.
The line graph used is a representation of baseline. The observation is simply watching the subject and recording her behavior when asked to perform tasks. No interventions or treatments will be applied at this time.
Baselines are an important part of treatment plans as they provide information that sets the groundwork from which to compare results of treatments. Without baselines it would be difficult to know if treatments are effective. The following is a line graph of the subject’s response time when asked to perform a task.
Minutes until task start
Figure 1: Recorded time it takes the subject to start each task
Figure 1 shows the subject taking between three to five minutes to start a task once asked. This baseline shows that she is 100% noncompliant. Out of the five tasks she was asked to accomplish, she did not start working on the tasks within 60 seconds, therefore she showed noncompliant behavior of all five tasks.
The overall trend of the graph shows a slight downward slope, however, if more data were to be collected, it is predicted that the trend would remain the same, within the 3 to 5 minute range. The overall data shows significant noncompliant behavior, even if it does appear to trend downwards, intervention is needed to get the numbers to 1 minute or below. The target behavior is 1 minute or less for task start initiation.
Figure 1 shows a clear need for intervention. The intended goal is to modify her noncompliant behavior until she can be asked to perform a task and begins to work on the task within 60 seconds. Now that a baseline has been established, intervention methods can be explored. Once more data has been collected with applied intervention methods, the line graph will be updated.
The new and updated line graph will show if the intervention plans are successful in reducing the amount of time it is taking the subject to begin tasks. If the subject begins tasks within 60 seconds, the intervention was successful in eliminating the noncompliant behavior. If the data remains the same or worsen with the intervention methods, new interventions must be chosen.
It may be necessary to establish another baseline in some case, however, in this case it does not seem necessary. The ineffective interventions will simply be ceased ad new interventions will begin. Data will once again be collected and analyzed.
Bailey, J. S., & Burch, M. R. (2016). Ethics for behavior analysts (3rd ed.). New York, NY: Routledge.
Cooper, J. O., Heron, T. E., & Heward, W. L. (2007). Applied behavior analysis (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill/Prentice Hall.
Fisher W, Piazza C.C, Bowman L.G, Hagopian L.P, Owens J.C, Slevin I. A comparison of two approaches for identifying reinforcers for persons with severe and profound disabilities. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis. 1992;25:491–498.
Houlihan D, Sloane H, Jones R, Patten C. A review of behavioral conceptualizations and treatments of noncompliance. Education and Treatment of Children. 1992;56:56–77.
Lipschultz, J. L., & Wilder, D. A. (2017). Behavioral assessment and treatment of noncompliance: A review of the literature. Education & Treatment of Children, 40(2), 263–297.
MacKenzie-Keating S, McDonald L, Kanchak D, Erickson D. Natural rates of compliant behavior in preschool children in day care settings. Early Child Development and Care
Malott, R. W., Suarez, E. A. (2004). Elementary principles of behavior (5th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
Reimers T.M, Wacker D.P, Cooper L.J, Sasso G.M, Berg W.K, Steege M.W. Assessing the functional properties of noncompliant behavior in an outpatient setting. Child and Family Behavior Therapy. 1993;15:1–15.
Taplin P.S, Reid J.B. Changes in parent consequences as a function of family intervention. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology. 1977;45:973–981.
Wilder, D. A., Harris, C., Reagan, R., & Rasey, A. (2007). Functional analysis and treatment of noncompliance by preschool children. Journal of applied behavior analysis, 40(1), 173–177. https://doi.org/10.1901/jaba.2007.44-06