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Improving behaviour classification consistency: a technique from biological taxonomy

By Timo A. Nieminen, Serene Hyun-Jin Choi, Mark Bahr and Nan Bahr


Quantitative behaviour analysis requires the classification of behaviour to produce the basic data. In practice, much of this work will be performed by multiple observers, and maximising inter-observer consistency is of particular importance. Another discipline where consistency in classification is vital is biological taxonomy. A classification tool of great utility, the binary key, is designed to simplify the classification decision process and ensure consistent identification of proper categories. We show how this same decision-making tool - the binary key - can be used to promote consistency in the classification of behaviour. The construction of a binary key also ensures that the categories in which behaviour is classified are complete and non-overlapping. We discuss the general principles of design of binary keys, and illustrate their construction and use with a practical example from education research

Topics: Behavioral Analysis
Year: 2002
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