behavioral assessment

A Guide To Behavioral Assessment

Behavioral assessment is a psychological tool used to observe, describe, explain, and predict behavior. This is done to measure and calculate the various factors of behavioral changes: feelings, overt behaviors, and controlling variables of individuals.
Behavioral assessment is done to portray the mindset of the person under study, to depict what he does and why he does it. Mainly, behavioral assessment is conducted through functional analysis. Anomalies related to hyperactivity, aggression, low attention span, peer relationship problems, etc., are all studied through behavioral assessments.
Functional Behavioral Assessment (FBA) is carried out to evaluate the ‘why’, ‘what’, and ‘how’ of the behavioral changes of individuals. It is used to determine the underlying characteristics of behavior. FBA is done to clarify the behavioral changes that remain inaccessible to the normal eye. A specialist conducts FBA by putting the individual in different situations to study the changes according to the situation. This type of assessment may also include background checks, family interviews, etc.

Steps of Functional Behavioral Assessment

  • Determine the behavior.
  • Gather information about the behavior.
  • Find the reason behind the behavior.
  • Devise an intervention program to eradicate the behavior.

Companies all around the world carry out behavioral assessments during their hiring processes, especially during the interview phase to weed out the most appropriate candidate. Interviewers estimate the candidate’s problem-solving skills, cultural fitness, strengths, and weaknesses, etc., through different behavioral assessments.

Uses of Behavioral Assessment

Behavioral assessments are conducted for various purposes. Resolving the behavioral issue is the main agenda behind behavioral assessment. Reaching the base of the behavior and rectifying any anomaly that causes the behavior to change is the basic purpose of such an assessment.

Types of Behavioral Assessment

Broadly, behavioral assessment has been divided into five types:

  • Direct assessment: This is the study of behavior as it changes during the situation. Also known as ‘Situational Behavioral Assessment.’
  • Analog assessment: This type of behavioral assessment is done to study the changes under simulated or made-up situations. Baseline observations are conducted to record the response frequencies depending on various situations.
  • Indirect Assessment: In this type of assessment, the behavior is not observed but inferred through retrospective analysis.
  • Idiographic assessment: This describes the behavioral characteristics of the individual concerned.
  • Contextual assessment: The stimuli in the environment that cause the change in behavior are in focus in this method of assessment.

Functions of Behavior

There are six functions of behavior, namely:

  • To obtain something.
  • Escape or avoid something.
  • To get attention from someone.
  • To communicate with someone.
  • Self-stimulation.
  • Control or power over anyone or anything.

These functions of behavior are the bases of behavioral assessment. A behavioral specialist identifies each function with the help of the ABC of behavioral assessments. This theory defines the three pivotal parts of behavior and helps identify the phases and changes.

  • Antecedent: The stimulus that creates the behavior.
  • Behavior: The actual behavior that gets created due to the situation.
  • Consequence: The result of the behavior.

5 Factor Model of Behavior

Psychologists have divided a person’s behavior or personality into 5 traits. These are abbreviated into OCEAN or CANOE. These 5 traits are:

  • Openness: Openness to experience is the trait that makes people appreciate life and everything that comes with it. According to studies, people who are open to experience are more curious, intellectual, and willing to try new things as compared to people who are not.
  • Conscientiousness: This trait showcases self-discipline and self-gratification. People with this trait are considered to be stubborn and result oriented.
  • Extraversion: This personality trait determines the engagement with the world. People are of two types: extroverts and introverts. Extroverts are those who like to engage with people as much as possible, whereas, introverts are the opposite. According to Hans Eysenck, most people are a mixture of extroversion and introversion.
  • Agreeableness: This trait displays the different concerns regarding social harmony. Agreeable persons are kind-hearted and soft whereas disagreeable persons are stubborn and hard to work with.
  • Neuroticism: Neuroticism is the tendency of showing anger, anxiety, and all other kinds of negative emotions. People with high levels of neuroticism are more aggressive and tend to have less mental stability as compared to people with less neuroticism. According to Hans Eysenck’s “Theory of Personality”, neuroticism is interlinked with a low tolerance in stressful situations.

Importance of Behavioral Assessment

Hiring a candidate requires a lot of time and dedication. A wrong candidate means a wrong investment for the company. Along with the educational and technical skills, a candidate requires to have the right set of mind. The candidate should be an ideal person who can shape his character with the working environment of the company and can generate a healthy relationship with his colleagues.
Behavioral assessment helps in determining the personality of the candidates so that the right candidate can be selected for the company.

Evaluation Techniques

Psychologists execute various techniques to evaluate the personality of a person. Some of the common techniques as undertaken by psychologists are:

  • Case Study Method: This method is used to determine the personality traits of a person who has psychological problems. In this process, the individual’s past life is studied and incidents are funneled out to determine their effects on the person’s behavior.
    It is a long process that takes place over a while. This method is executed on individuals who have prolonged issues with behavioral disturbances.
  • Interview Method: This is the most common form of behavioral assessment where the psychologist interviews the individual to assess the behavioral changes in the candidate.
  • Experience Sampling Method: In this method, the analyst pings the individual at a certain time of the day to study the behavior at that exact moment.
  • Biological Method: Some analysts use Positron Emission Tomography to study the behavioral traits of individuals. They scan the brain of the individual to ascertain the change in behavioral patterns.

To Sum It All

Behavioral assessment helps in determining the personality of a person. It tailors the characteristics of an individual and the range of traits he possesses.
For a company, behavioral assessment is a must as that would weed out the desired candidate who is suitable for every situation.

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