Behavioral assessment in 2- to 7-year-old children (Bonino et al., 2019)

Purpose: It is challenging to collect reliable behavioral data from toddlers and preschoolers. Consequently, we have significant gaps in our understanding of how auditory development unfolds during this time period. One method that appears to be promising is an observer-based procedure that uses conditioned, play-based responses (Bonino & Leibold, 2017). In order to evaluate the quality of data obtained with this method, this study presented a suprathreshold signal to determine the number of trials 2- to 7-year-old children could complete, as well as the associated hit rate and observer confidence.
Method: Participants were 23 children (2–7 years old). Children were taught to perform a play-based motor response when they detected the 1000-Hz warble tone signal (at 30 dB SPL). An observer evaluated children’s behavior using a 2-interval, 2-alternative testing paradigm. Testing was terminated after 100 trials or earlier, if signs of habituation were observed.
Results: Data were successfully collected from 22 of the 23 children. Of the 22 children, all but 1 child completed 100 trials. Overall hit rate was high (0.88–1.0; M = 0.94) and improved with listener age. Hit rate was stable across the test session. Strong agreement was seen between the correctness of the response and the observer’s confidence in the judgment.
Conclusion: Results of this study confirm that the 2-interval, observer-based procedure described in this article is a powerful tool for measuring detection and discrimination abilities in young children. Future research will (a) evaluate coder reliability and (b) examine stability of performance across a test session when the signal intensity is manipulated.

Supplemental Material S1. Trial-by-trial data (Stage 3 only) are provided for the five 3-year old children. Each panel represents a single child. Response accuracy is indicated by placement of the data point on the ordinate, “Yes (Y)” for a correct response and “No (N)” for an incorrect response. Observer confidence is indicated by fill color, white for confident and red for not confident. Trials in which the mechanical toys were activated have a gray background.

Supplemental Material S2. Trial-by-trial data (Stage 3 only) are provided for the seven 4-year-old children. Each panel represents a single child. Response accuracy is indicated by placement of the data point on the ordinate, “Yes (Y)” for a correct response and “No (N)” for an incorrect response. Observer confidence is indicated by fill color, white for confident and red for not confident. Trials in which the mechanical toys were activated have a gray background.

Supplemental Material S3. Trial-by-trial data (Stage 3 only) are provided for the three 5- to 7-year-old children. Each panel represents a single child. Response accuracy is indicated by placement of the data point on the ordinate, “Yes (Y)” for a correct response and “No (N)” for an incorrect response. Observer confidence is indicated by fill color, white for confident and red for not confident.

Bonino, A. Y., Ramsey, M. E., McTee, H. M., & Vance, E. A. (2019). Behavioral assessment of hearing in 2- to 7-year-old children: Evaluation of a two-interval, observer-based procedure using conditioned play-based responses. American Journal of Audiology, 28, 560–571. https://doi.org/10.1044/2019_AJA-19-0004