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Keywords:

  • functional analysis;
  • visual inspection;
  • data analysis;
  • problem behavior

Abstract

The development of functional analysis (FA) methodologies allows the identification of the reinforcers that maintain problem behavior and improved intervention efficacy in the form of function-based treatments. Despite the profound impact of FA on clinical practice and research, questions still remain about the methods by which clinicians and researchers interpret FA graphs. In the current study, 141 FA data sets were evaluated using the structured visual-inspection criteria developed by Hagopian et al. (1997). However, the criteria were modified for FAs of varying lengths. Interobserver agreement assessments revealed high agreement coefficients across expert judges, postdoctoral reviewers, master's-level reviewers, and postbaccalaureate reviewers. Once the validity of the modified visual-inspection procedures was established, the utility of those procedures was examined by using them to categorize the maintaining reinforcement contingency related to problem behavior for all 141 data sets and for the 101 participants who contributed to the 141 data sets.