Behavior Setting Survey


“Behavior settings” describe pairings of place and activity which are dependent on each other.  They provide, in effect, a rigorous delineation of the frame for people’s behavior.



  1. General Information
    1. Time during which survey was conducted
    2. Location of survey
  2. List potential behavior settings
  3. Test for independence of settings (“K-21” test)
    1. Compare each pair of settings which might not be independent by rating the pair on the following 7 items, using a 1-7 scale (7 is completely independent, 1 is identical)

                                                               i.      Behavioral independence

                                                             ii.      Population independence

                                                            iii.      Leadership independence

                                                           iv.      Spatial independence

                                                             v.      Temporal proximity

                                                           vi.      Behavioral objects

                                                          vii.      Similarity of behavioral mechanisms

    1. While the precise criteria differ for each scale item, generally speaking the following scoring can be used:

% commonality K-points

  100-95%                        1

    94-67                            2

    66-34                            3

    33-5                              4

      2-4                              5

      1-trace                        6

      none                            7

    1. If the combined K-score is 21 or greater, the two settings are independent.  If it is 20 or less, the two settings should be combined into one for analytical purposes.
  1. Develop final list of behavior settings.  For each setting, describe the following:
    1. Boundaries

                                                               i.      Hours & Days of week

                                                             ii.      Physical boundaries

    1. Components

                                                               i.      Positions (roles) played by people

                                                             ii.      Physical objects in setting

    1. Program

                                                               i.      Proper sequence of action (duties) using physical objects in setting

    1. Hierarchy:  Influence/responsibilities of positions:

                                                               i.      Onlookers

                                                             ii.      Audience/guests

                                                            iii.      Members/customers

                                                           iv.      Active functionaries (responsible assignments)

                                                             v.      Joint leaders

                                                           vi.      Single leader


Adapted from:  Allan W. Wicker.  1979.  An Introduction to Ecological Psychology.  Monterey, CA:  Brooks/Cole.