# Chapter 6: Constructing and Interpreting Graphic Displays of Behavioral Data

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1 Chapter 6: Constructing and Interpreting Graphic Displays of Behavioral Data

2 Chapter Focus Questions What are the benefits of graphic display and visual analysis of behavioral data? What are the fundamental properties of behavior change over time? What are the different visual formats for the graphic display of behavioral data? What are the relative strengths and limitations of each visual format? What are the basic parts of a properly constructed line graph? What is the purpose of visual analysis? How is a visual analysis of behavioral data conducted?

3 Direct and Repeated Measurement of Behavior Data Medium with which the behavior analyst works Results of measurement Empirical basis for decision making Plural These data are

4 Direct and Repeated Measurement of Behavior Consecutive measures, over time Data series vs. graphic display Number Correct Condition A Condition B Percentage of correct responses 70, 72, 71, 87,90, 85, 73

5 Graphic Display

6 Graphic Display

7 Purpose & Benefits of Graphic Display Graphic displays Primary function communication Display relationships between dependent variable and independent variable Summarization of data collected Facilitates of accurate analyses

8 Purpose & Benefits of Graphic Display Benefits Immediate access to record of behavior Variations prompt exploration Provides judgmental aid Relatively easy to learn, no predetermined level for determining significance of change, no mathematical properties required Conservative method Encourages independent judgment & interpretation Effective source of feedback

9 Fundamental Properties of Behavior Change Level Trend Variability

10 Types of Graphs Utilized in ABA Line graph Bar graphs Cumulative record Semilogarithmic charts Standard Celeration Chart Scatterplots

11 Types of Graphs Utilized in ABA Line Graph Based on the Cartesian plane Two-dimensional area formed by intersecting lines Points on the plane represent relationships Level of the dependent variable when the independent variable was in effect Comparisons of data points reveals the presence or absence of changes in level, trend, and/or variability

12 Parts of a Line Graph Horizontal axis Vertical axis Condition change lines Condition labels Phase and condition Data points Data path Figure Caption

13 Figure 5. Rates of hits during baseline and the blocking condition for Arlo. Figure Legend

14 Line Graph Variations Two or more dimensions of the same behavior Two or more different behaviors Measure of the same behavior under different conditions Changing values of the independent variable Same behavior of two or more participants

15 Types of Graphs Utilized in ABA Bar Graph Based on the Cartesian plane No distinct data points representing successive response measures through time Functions Displaying and comparing discrete sets of data that ARE NOT related by a common underlying dimension by which the horizontal axis can be scaled (Example) Visual summary of participant or group performance during different experimental conditions Provides efficient summary of data DOES NOT allow for analysis of variability & trends in behavior

16 Percent Completion/Accuracy Sample Bar Graph % Completion % Accuracy Baseline Generalization/Maintenance

17 Types of Graphs Utilized in ABA Cumulative Record Developed by Skinner Primary means of data collection in EAB Cumulative recorder Experimental subject draws its own graph Shows the number of responses on the ordinate against time on the abscissa

18 Types of Graphs Utilized in ABA Cumulative Record Number of responses recorded and added to the total number of responses recorded during previous observations Cumulative Y-Axis (vertical axis) Represents the total number of responses recorded since the start of data collection

19 Types of Graphs Utilized in ABA Display Cumulative Record Total number of responses at any given point in time Relative rates of response The steeper the slope, the higher the response rate Overall response rate Local response rate

20 Cumulative Number Correct Types of Graphs Utilized in ABA Cumulative Record The steeper the slope, the higher the response rate Sessions

21 Types of Graphs Utilized in ABA Cumulative Record When to use cumulative graph over noncumulative graph Progress toward a specific goal can be measured in cumulative units E.g., Number of new words learned, quarters saved Graph is used as personal feedback Total progress and relative rate of performance easily detected Target behavior can only occur once per observation period Yes/No Intricate details between behavior & environmental variables are of interest E.g., Within session analyses

22 Equal-interval Graphs Distance between any two consecutive points on each axis is always the same Increase/decrease in performance expressed by equal distances on the y-axis Distance between sessions, days, etc. expressed by equal distance on the x-axis

23 Types of Graphs Utilized in ABA Semilogarithmic Charts Ratio or multiply-divide charts One axis is scaled proportionally Double response rate 4 to 8 same as 50 to 100 All behavior changes of equal proportion are shown by equal vertical distances on the vertical axis

24 Types of Graphs Utilized in ABA Standard Celeration Chart Developed by Ogden Lindsley Standardized method for Charting & analyzing how frequency of behavior changes over time

25 Types of Graphs Utilized in ABA Standard Celeration Chart From the Journal of Precision Teaching and Celeration, 19(1), p. 54. Copyright 2002 by The Standard Celeration Society. Used by permission.

26 Types of Graphs Utilized in ABA Standard Celeration Chart Four standard charts Difference in scaling on horizontal axis Daily chart (140 calendar days) Weekly chart Monthly chart Yearly chart What s standard about the standard celeration chart? Consistent display of celeration

27 Types of Graphs Utilized in ABA Standard Celeration Chart Celeration Linear measure of frequency change across time A factor by which frequency multiples or divides per unit of time Acceleration accelerating performance Deceleration decelerating performance Standard chart Six, X 10 cycles (vertical axis) 1 per 24 hrs 1,000 per minute Bottom left to top right corner Slope of 34 - celeration value X2

28 Standard Celeration Chart & Precision Teaching Precision Teaching Instructional decision-making system Developed for use with standard celeration chart Position Learning best measured as a change in response rate Learning most often occurs through proportional changes in behavior Past changes can predict future learning Chart uses estimations for most frequency values

29 Types of Graphs Utilized in ABA Scatterplot Shows relative distribution of individual measures in a data set Data points are unconnected Depicts changes in value on one axis correlated with changes in value on the other axis Patterns suggest certain relationships Sometimes used to discover the temporal distribution of the target behavior

30 Types of Graphs Utilized in ABA Scatterplot From A Technology to Measure Multiple Driving Behaviors without Self-Report or Participant Reactivity by T. E. Boyce and E. S. Geller, 2001, Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 34, p. 49. Copyright 2001 by the Society for the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, Inc. Used by permission.

31 Constructing Line Graphs An effective graph presents data Accurately Completely Clearly Makes visual analysis as easy as possible Does not create distortion or bias interpretation

32 Constructing Line Graphs Drawing, scaling, & labeling axes Use a balanced ratio between the height and width of the axes Relative length of the vertical axis to horizontal axis Suggestions 5:8; 3:4; 1:1.6 ratio y-axis to x-axis Horizontal axis Mark equal intervals Left to right chronological succession of equal time periods or response opportunities Use regularly spaced tic marks

33 ~ ~ Constructing Line Graphs Drawing, scaling, & labeling axes Use a scale break to represent discontinuities in the progression of time Regularly spaced tic marks Scale break

34 Constructing Line Graphs Drawing, scaling, & labeling axes Scaling of vertical axis Most significant feature of the graph Mark the origin at zero Mark the full range of values represented in the data set Good Practice: Plot the data set against several different vertical axis scales watch for distortion that may lead to inaccurate interpretations If relatively small changes in performance are socially significant Y-Axis should reflect a smaller range of values

35 Hits per minute Brief label, printed, centered to the left and parallel to the vertical axis Constructing Line Graphs Labeling vertical axis

36 Constructing Line Graphs Condition Change Lines Vertical lines Extend upward Indicate change in treatment or experimental condition Solid or dashed lines Major changes solid Minor changes dashed Asterisks (*), arrows ( ) or other symbols to indicate small changes

37 Baseline Constructing Line Graphs Blocking Condition Change Labels Identify conditions in effect during each period of the experiment Centered above & between condition change lines Brief, but descriptive labels

38 Constructing Line Graphs Data Points & Data Paths Place each data point in the exact coordinate of the horizontal and vertical axis If graphing by hand - use a graph paper with appropriately spaced grid lines Use bold, easily discernable symbols Use a different symbol for each set of data

39 Constructing Line Graphs Data Points & Data Paths Draw data paths using a straight line The center of each data point in a given data set to the center of the next data point in the same set

40 Constructing Line Graphs Data Points & Data Paths DO NOT CONNECT DATA POINTS IF Points fall on either side of a condition change line A significant span of time passed and behavior was not measured There was a discontinuity in time in the horizontal axis (e.g., school vacation) Data were not collected, lost, etc. It is follow-up or post-check data Unless intersession time span same as original experiment Data points fall beyond the values described by the vertical axis

41 Constructing Line Graphs Data Points & Data Paths Use different styles of lines for multiple data paths on the same graph Clearly identify what each data path represents Use arrows or a legend

42 Constructing Line Graphs Figure Caption & Printing Figure caption Printed below the graph Concise, complete description of figure Direct viewers attention to features of the graph that may be overlooked E.g., scale changes Describe the meaning of any added symbols Print graphs in one color - black

43 Constructing Graphs Using Computer Software Use with caution Check the range of scales available Check the accuracy of data point plotting Check the precision of data paths Further information Carr & Burkholder (1998) Silvestri (2003)

44 Interpreting Graphically Displayed Visual analysis Behavioral Data Did behavior change in a meaningful way? If so, to what extent can that change in behavior be attributed to the independent variable? Identification of Variability Level Trend

45 Interpreting Graphically Displayed Behavioral Data It is impossible to interpret graphic data without being influenced by various characteristics of the graph itself. Johnson & Pennypacker, 1993b, p. 320

46 Interpreting Graphically Displayed Read the graph Figure caption Behavioral Data Condition & axis labels Location of numerical value & relative significance of scale breaks Visually track each data path Are data paths properly connected? Is the graph distorted?

47 Interpreting Graphically Displayed Behavioral Data Visual analysis Within conditions Number of data points Nature & extent of variability in the data Absolute & relative level of the behavioral measure Direction & degree of any trends in the data

48 Interpreting Graphically Displayed Behavioral Data Visual analysis Between conditions Level Mean or median level lines Trend Stability/Variability Across similar conditions

49 Interpreting Graphically Displayed Level Behavioral Data Value on the vertical axis around which a series of data points converge Stability When data points fall at or near a specific level Mean or median lines Added to represent overall average or typical performance Use with caution - can obscure important variability

50 Interpreting Graphically Displayed Trend Behavioral Data Overall direction taken by the data path Direction Increasing, decreasing, or zero trend Degree Gradual or steep Extent of variability Trend line or line of progress Freehand, least-squares regression equation, or split-middle line of progress

51 Interpreting Graphically Displayed Variability/Stability Behavioral Data Frequency and degree to which multiple measures of behavior yield different outcomes High degree of variability Little or no control over the factors influencing behavior

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