Date of Award

8-2005

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Dr. R. Wayne Fuqua

Second Advisor

Dr. James Carr

Third Advisor

Dr. Cynthia Pietras

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Campus Only

Abstract

Partial Interval Recording (PIR) and Momentary Time Sampling (MTS) are two of the most widely used methods for estimating the percentage of an observation session during which a target behavior occurs. Previous research suggests that MTS produces a more valid estimate than PIR of the actual percentage of an observation session during which a target behavior occurs, and the current study sought to replicate that finding. The degree to which human observers validly apply an observation method influences the dependent measure that is reported and in Experiment 1, human participants observed simulated behaviors and produced an estimate of percent duration using either MTS or PIR. The ability of PIR and MTS to accurately quantify changes in behavior was assessed in both experiments. Experiment 1 compared the percent duration estimate validity, human observer validity, and sensitivity to change of MTS and PIR. Experiment 2 further compared the measurement validity and sensitivity to change of MTS and PIR using computer-scored pseudo behavior. Results of both experiments indicate that MTS is a much more valid method for estimating percent duration, and more sensitive to change overall, but that PIR is nearly as sensitive in some scenarios. Results of Experiment 1 indicate that human observers used PIR more validly than MTS.

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