Lizard Pushups: Describing behavior
How do you avoid observer bias?
The main method behaviorists use is to be very cautious in how they record, or "code," behavior. The goal is to describe behavior without interpreting it. This means that you describe what the animal actually does, in as much detail as possible, using objective language (that is, avoiding value-loaded words).
For example: examine the two statements below, and decide which is more objective.
"On Monday at 2 pm, Lizard A attacked Lizard
Obviously, the first statement is an interpretation, not an observation.
The work "attacked" indicates that the observer has jumped to
the conclusion that the behavior is hostile. It is preferable to describe
what the lizards are actually doing.
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