Teachers' use of behavioral cues in judgments of hyperactivity



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Thirty-seven public elementary school teachers were asked to view videotape samples of the classroom behavior of ten hyperactive and ten control children. The teachers were asked to rate each child on a six-point scale of hyperactivity and list the behaviors used in making their judgments. Trained coders then recorded the occurrence of each teacher listed behavior in the videotape samples. Teacher judgments of hyperactivity were examined in relation to the videotape stimulus materials through application of the Brunswikian lens model and linear regression statistics. The teachers made somewhat accurate judgments in general, but a subset of teachers, characterized by limited previous contact with hyperactive children and by having taught in a more traditional classroom setting, were noticeably more accurate in their judgments. Teachers were able to list behavioral cues with more validity than a model of their judgments indicated they were actually using. They seemed to rely on some valid cues and some that had little validity, but were highly visible or socially annoying.