By Cecilia Runneboom
IIs there anything more fascinating than human behaviour? When you look into people’s (non-) verbal communication, you can find things out about them that they are not even aware of themselves.
Most of what we do, we do without thinking about it. When we are asked to explain our actions, we take our intentions, thoughts, and likability into account as we all want to come across favourably.
This is why it is difficult to get an accurate insight of behaviour when you ask people about it – an issue that psychologists have struggled with for decades. The answers you get will be most likely biased.
So what do you do if you are a researcher and want to learn about human psychology and social interactions?
You study human behaviour by observing it.
However, if you have ever tried to capture communication using an excel sheet or a piece of paper, you know how challenging it can be to keep an eye on the timing, remember what you’re looking for, notice when it’s happening, and write up your notes – all while you are concentrating on what is happening. EEEP!
Understanding teamwork is a lot easier when you have access to recorded sessions that enable you to pause, rewind and replay. However, this is simply not always possible or ethical. This can leave you with ‘live coding’ as your only option.
If you feel discouraged due to the difficulty of live coding, we have good news!
We developed a program called CAT (Communication Analysis tool) that will make live coding much easier by doing most of the additional work for you.
CAT can prompt you when to code, so you don’t have to keep an eye on the time so much.
CAT helps you remember what to code, as all your codes are captured by buttons you now simply have to click.
CAT even decreases your workload by summarising the results for you.
You can fully tailor the coding scheme so it meets your needs, and if you are working with a team you can all join the session and code with multiple observers.
Added bonus: CAT will calculate your interrater reliability (ask us what this means, if you don’t know!).
If you are looking for a way to capture communication patterns and interactions, or if you are working with coding ‘live behaviours’, this is something you can’t miss.
Not convinced yet? Give it a try yourself! This video walks you through the steps:
Still not sure if you could use CAT in your work? Stay tuned for the next posts in this series, where we will give other examples of how CAT can be used, including videos from our very own ‘CAT lovers!’
For further detail on the functionality and history of CAT, and how to access it, click here.
For the original Curtin University media release on CAT, click here.