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Ambulatory Assessment

Introduction

Ambulatory assessment designates a new orientation in behavioural and psychophysiological assessment. This approach relates to everyday life (‘naturalistic’ observation) and claims the ecological validity of research findings. Methods of recording psychological data in everyday life have a long history in differential psychology and clinical psychology. Event recorders for the timed registration of stimuli and responses, ‘beeper’ studies in which a programmable wristwatch prompts the subject to respond to a questionnaire, self-ratings on diary cards, and electronic data loggers have all been used for this purpose. The arrival of pocket-sized (hand-held, palm-top) computers has eased the acquisition of data considerably. Computer-assisted methodologies facilitate investigations in real-life situations where relevant behaviour can be much more effectively studied than in the artificial environment of laboratory research. Such field ...

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