The effect of observer focus and rater experience on coding behavior from videotape



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Twenty one undergraduate Psychology students were paid five dollars each to participate in a behavior coding task. Thirteen of the subjects had no previous experience in coding behavior (Novices), while eight subjects did have coding experience (Experienced Raters). All subjects received the same videotaped procedure. The task involved rating four two minute long videotapes of fathers involved in pre-surgery preparatory play with their child and spouse. Each father's behavior was coded into one o-f two, mutually-exclusive categories: Reinforcing or Non-reinforcing Behavior. The hypotheses tested were: 1) that the Experienced Raters would code with less variability than the Novices, and 2) when compared to the ratings of the Experienced subjects, the Novices would score a higher number of Reinforcing intervals for fathers paired with 'good' focusing instruments and a lower number of Reinforcing intervals for fathers paired with 'bad' focusing instruments. Neither hypothesis was supported by the data at the predetermined (alpha<.05>) level. The present work did demonstrate a need for further investigation as to whether in vivo observational methods can be generalized to observations made from videotape.



Observation (Psychology)