ERIC Number: ED078917
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1973-Apr-1
Reference Count: 0
Some Theoretical Advantages of Behavioral Observations: Illustrations from a Longitudinal Study.
Behavioral observations have the advantages of being direct, tangible, and informative as to the contextual determinants of behavior. Considerable evidence exists that a three-dimensional structure gives meaning to many child behaviors in a variety of life settings. Three bipolar dimensions constitute this framework: introversion vs. extroversion, love vs. hostility, and task orientation vs. distractibility. This approach has been used for ordering observational data collected for the ETS-Head Start Longitudinal Study. The emphasis so far has been on the motivational, affective and social aspects of observational data. But relationships between personal-social behaviors and independently measured cognitive processes will be explored in the longitudinal sample. The question of qualitative shifts in behavior between correlated adjacent constructs within a configuration rather than on orthogonal bipolar dimensions is also being explored. Findings to date suggest that shifts within the structure roughly follow the principle of structural proximity and that such change is directed toward the more desirable locations within the configuration. A more sophisticated system of mapping persons into the configuration within life contexts is needed. This could yield insights into personality development. This discussion applies to observations within a rather narrow age span, since the underlying meanings of observational data become increasingly under the control of deeper cognitive structures. (KM)
Publication Type: N/A
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Educational Testing Service, Princeton, NJ.
Note: Paper presented at the biennial meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, March 29 - April 1, 1973)