Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Dr. Paul Mountjoy

Second Advisor

Dr. Brian Iwata

Third Advisor

Dr. Johns Hopkins

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Dave Lyon


The present study evaluated the effectiveness of rules and videotape training on the acquisition, maintenance, and generalization of complex behavioral observation skills. A multiple baseline design across two groups of subjects (N = 17) was used. An initial pretest probe measured subjects' ability to score adult and child behavior shown in a set of five, 15- to 20-second videotape episodes. Child behavior was rated as appropriate, inappropriate, or unacceptable. The subsequent adult behavior was rated as correct or incorrect, as a function of the child behavior, in five categories: vocalization, eye contact, facial expression, physical contact, and back-up consequence. Mean scores for Group A and Group B for the pretest probe were 62.9% and 63.0% respectively. Subjects then studied a set of written rules on the scoring of adult and child behavior and were required to pass a comprehensive written test over the rules at a criterion level of 95%. Subjects then were begun in the baseline condition where they again were asked to rate adult and child behavior on four sets of videotaped behavioral episodes. Baseline mean scores for Group A and Group B were 87.2% and 86.8% respectively. Groups were then given the videotape episodes as in baseline with the addition of information as to the correctness of their responses after each episode. Group means increased to above 95% correct on each of the four sets of five episodes. Videotape training condition mean phase scores were 95.2% correct for both Group A and B. A posttraining videotape session was conducted approximately one week later. The posttraining session was conducted in the same manner as the videotape training condition. All four training sets were assessed. Posttraining session mean phase scores were 97.6% correct for Group A and 96.8% correct for Group B. Finally, a generalization test was administered using two novel videotape sets with no feedback given. Scores on this test were 95.0% correct for Group A and 93.6% correct for Group B. (Individual subject data reflected the group data.) Reliability scores were 100% for the 10 checks run.

The present study demonstrates the effectiveness of rules and videotape training in the acquisition, maintenance, and generalization of complex observation skills. Implications of the findings in light of past research and current needs were discussed, and directions for future research were suggested.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access

Included in

Psychology Commons