Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


47th Annual Convention; Online; 2021

All times listed are Eastern time (GMT-4 at the time of the convention in May).

Event Details

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Symposium #467
I Can See Clearly Now: Interpreting Data Using Structured Visual Inspection
Monday, May 31, 2021
4:00 PM–5:50 PM
Area: CBM/EAB; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Alexandra Hardee (University of Nebraska Medical Center's Munroe-Meyer Institute)
Discussant: Joanna Lomas Mevers (Marcus Autism Center)

A crucial skill for behavior analysts is making data-based decisions using visual inspection to interpret single-case data. Although widely taught and used in the field of behavior analysis, research has yielded variable results on the reliability of visual inspection. To increase the reliability of visual inspection, many researchers have examined the utility of structured criteria for visual inspection of data. In this symposium, we discuss recent applications of structured visual inspection in the field of behavior analysis. This symposium will consist of four presentations, followed by comments from Dr. Valdeep Saini. Dowdy presents an evaluation of strategies to supplement visual inspection of single-case research designs. Sunde and colleagues present an examination of the reliability and validity of using structured visual inspection criteria to interpret latency-based functional analysis outcomes. Sodawasser and colleagues present a comparison of response-repetition and latency measures in functional analysis data. Last, Saini and colleagues present a clinical application of ongoing visual inspection to interpret functional analyses of inappropriate mealtime behavior.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): functional analysis, single-case research, visual inspection

Structured Visual Analysis, Effect Sizes, and Graph Size Ratios, Oh My! Exploring the Range of Interpreting Single-Case Research Design Outcomes With Behavioral Data

ART DOWDY (Temple University)

Visual analysis of single case research design (SCD) generally includes several fundamental components; namely, level, trend, and variability. Despite the widespread agreement of using these components when interpreting SCD behavioral data, research shows there is often disagreement of behavioral outcomes between interpreters who display a range of experience. Implications of this discrepancy could result in suboptimal interpretation and decision-making thus affecting treatment outcomes. Using a SCD data set, additional tools and strategies will be explored with the goal of promoting transparency and enhancing clarity for when interpreting SCD behavioral data. This exploration will be discussed with respect to research, treatment outcomes, and optimal decision making.

Employing Modified Visual-Inspection Criteria to Interpret Latency-Based Functional Analysis Outcomes
ELEAH SUNDE (Eastern Michigan University), Adam M. Briggs (Eastern Michigan University), Daniel R. Mitteer (Rutgers University - Children's Specialized Hospital Center for Autism Research, Education, and Services)
Abstract: Identification of behavioral function improves the efficacy of the treatment of problem behavior and latency-based functional analyses (LBFAs) represent an important development for identifying behavioral function in a relatively safe and efficient manner. Structured visual inspection criteria have been used to interpret rate-based functional analyses with high reliability and validity; however this method has not yet been extended to interpreting LBFA outcomes. We adapted the structured visual inspection criteria used by Roane et al. (2013) to meet the unique needs of interpreting LBFA outcomes. Two raters independently applied the modified criteria to 43 previously published LBFAs, and we examined agreement both between raters and with the outcomes that the published authors determined using visual analysis. Interrater reliability was 97% and levels of agreement with the published authors was 94%, suggesting that structured criteria can be applied to LBFAs with high reliability and validity. This technology may aid in the training of visual inspection of LBFAs and the objective identification of behavioral functions.
Further Retrospective Comparisons of Response-Repetition and Latency Measures in Functional Analysis Data: A Summary of 50 Cases
ANDREW SODAWASSER (University of Nebraska Medical Center), Adam M. Briggs (Eastern Michigan University), Daniel R. Mitteer (Rutgers University - Children's Specialized Hospital Center for Autism Research, Education, and Services), Wayne W. Fisher (Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School)
Abstract: Researchers have defined functional analysis (FA) efficiency as the minimum amount of time required to identify a functional relation (Saini et al., 2020). Specifically, Saini and colleagues used an objective method for identifying behavioral function (i.e., structured visual inspection criteria) and focused on comparing levels of efficiency across FA types that measured behavior using response-repetition (e.g., rate) as the dependent variable. Recent advances in FA methodology indicate that latency-based FAs (LBFAs) accurately predict outcomes of rate-based FAs while requiring many fewer responses, suggesting that LBFAs might be a valid approach toward identifying behavioral functions in a safe and efficient manner (Thomason-Sassi et al., 2011). Despite this finding, Saini and colleagues did not include LBFAs in their efficiency evaluation. Therefore, the purpose of the current study was to replicate and extend previous research by comparing data from 50 existing FA outcomes when graphed using response-repetition and latency measures to determine correspondence between outcomes using structured visual inspection criteria (i.e., Roane et al., 2013; Sunde et al., in prep). Results indicated high levels of correspondence in nearly all cases (94%). Implications for the safety and efficiency of using LBFAs and the conditions under which they are most appropriate to conduct will be discussed.

Correspondence Between Single-Pair and Full Functional Analyses of Inappropriate Mealtime Behavior: A Summary of 78 Outpatient Cases

ASHLEY ANDERSEN (University of Nebraska Medical Center, Munroe-Meyer Institute), Hanna E. Vance (Brock University), Valdeep Saini (Brock University)

Functional analysis is the primary assessment used to determine the function of inappropriate mealtime behavior in children with feeding disorders. Using a retrospective consecutive controlled case series, this study evaluated the correspondence between 78 single-pair and full functional analyses of inappropriate mealtime behavior for children who received outpatient services for pediatric feeding disorders. One limitation of prior studies comparing abbreviated and extended functional analyses is that experimenters have relied on individual evaluators to visually inspect functional analysis data. A more objective method would be to employ structured visual inspection criteria which eliminate subjective interpretation of functional analysis results. In the present study we used structured visual-inspection criteria and obtained a moderate exact agreement between the two functional analysis types (69.2%). The conditions under which single-pair functional analyses of inappropriate mealtime behavior are useful are discussed, as well as the extent to which structured visual analysis criteria can be used to objectively validate a new assessment strategy.




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