Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


33rd Annual Convention; San Diego, CA; 2007

Event Details

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Symposium #400
Large-Scale Applications of Applied Behavior Analysis in Community Settings
Monday, May 28, 2007
1:30 PM–2:50 PM
Gregory AB
Area: CSE; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: David Michael Harris (Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University)
Abstract: Four data-based papers attempted large-scale behavior change in the community. The first paper intervened to increase pro-environmental behaviors related to global warming. While behavior analysts have addressed environmental protection in the past, most of these studies addressed low-impact behaviors (e.g., littering and recycling behavior) and low-impact targets (e.g., visitors to parks, residents, office workers). This research targeted a critical and timely issue (i.e., global warming) and motivated participation on a larger scale than prior research (i.e., environmental activism via intervention). The second paper increased identification checking behavior by cashiers when customers made credit-card purchases. Baseline data showed very low identification checking (i.e., 4% of 405 observations) throughout the town, and beyond. Another paper evaluated driver and pedestrian behaviors related to crosswalk safety. The intervention increased appropriate communication between drivers and pedestrians. The final paper will report behavioral differences between two prompting interventions to increase safety-belt use. Specifically, the nationwide “Click-it-or-Ticket” approach was compared with a more positive “Flash for Life” prompt. Both approaches increased belt use among nonusers, but positive prompting was significantly more effective, and the facial expressions and hand gestures systematically observed revealed clear advantages for positive prompting.
Intervening to Convert Citizen Concern into Relevant Behavior: The Case of Global Warming.
PHILIP K. LEHMAN (Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University), E. Scott Geller (Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University), David Michael Harris (Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University), Christina L. Goodwin (Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University), Elise A. Drake (Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University)
Abstract: Environmental degradation poses serious threats to human health and quality of life. While behavioral interventions to improve environmentally-responsible behavior (ERB) have been successful, they have been criticized for focusing on low-impact targets and over-using reward strategies. Environmental activism in the form of petitioning government and industry may be the most environmentally-beneficial behavior individuals can conveniently perform. Despite the potential for large pro-environmental impact, the literature to date contains only one published intervention in which activism behaviors were targeted. The current study explores methods for motivating large-scale and high-impact behavioral responses to the critical environmental problem of global warming. The efficacy of a standard informational appeal for action will be compared to appeals enhanced by social influence principles and behavioral commitment. The dependent measures for the study include (a) purchases of compact fluorescent light bulbs, (b) signatures on petitions to automakers, and (c) emails to government representatives. Implications of the findings for environmental protection on a large scale will be discussed.
Investigating and Preventing Identity Theft: Intervening to Increase Identification-Checking Behaviors for Credit-Card Purchases.
CHRISTINA L. GOODWIN (Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University), E. Henry Howard (Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University), Christopher O. Downing, Jr. (Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University), Steven W. Clarke (Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University)
Abstract: This field study examined cashier identification-checking behaviors for credit and debit card transactions to further understand cashier behavior related to the prevention of identity theft. Observations were collected from various retail and grocery stores, restaurants and gas stations in the towns of Blacksburg and Christiansburg, Virginia. Researchers estimated demographics of the cashiers (i.e., age, gender, race) in addition to specific characteristics of the credit card (i.e., is it signed on the back, a credit or debit card, is there a prompt to have the ID checked, and does the credit card have a picture ID on it). Also noted was the total amount spent, and whether the cashier checked the credit card. Baseline data were observed for five weeks, and of 405 incidents, only 4% of the cashiers checked the buyer’s ID. The intervention was a sticker on the front of the card with the prompt “CASHIERS: PLEASE CHECK PHOTO ID.” After five weeks of intervening, the baseline condition will be re-instated for five weeks for an ABA reversal design. After one week of intervening the results look very promising. Implications for large-scale intervention will be discussed.
Increasing Driver-Pedestrian Communication for Injury Control: Catch the Wave!
DAVID MICHAEL HARRIS (Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University), Christina L. Goodwin (Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University), Steven W. Clarke (Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University), Philip K. Lehman (Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University)
Abstract: Last year, 64,000 pedestrians were injured in traffic crashes, and 4,881 were killed (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 2005). Pedestrian safety is a critical issue on the Virginia Tech (VT) campus because of recent pedestrian injuries, and the high level of pedestrian traffic. This evidence-based paper will present objective and reliable data collected at six crosswalks on the VT campus. Several pedestrian behaviors related to crossing the street safely were studied. Two different behavioral interventions were investigated: 1) a natural intervention already in place which included an obtrusive sign in the middle of three of the crosswalks, stating that drivers must yield to pedestrians in the crosswalk, and 2) an intervention designed to increase communication between pedestrians and drivers. The primary measures for the study were yielding and signaling by drivers, and looking, signaling, and the use of the crosswalk by pedestrians. Data were collected at each location for two 45-minute sessions per week. Teams of three to four trained and experienced research assistants collected data during each session so each research assistant was only responsible for observing either pedestrian or driver behavior. Empirical findings will be presented with implications for future research and application.
Community-Based Prompting to Get Resisters to Buckle Up: Must We Use Threats?
MATTHEW G. COX (Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University), Steven W. Clarke (Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University), E. Scott Geller (Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University)
Abstract: The most widely used technique to increase safety-belt use, is the national Click it or Ticket (CioT) campaign. Another technique used, while less well known, is the Flash-for-Life (FfL). This intervention employs an interpersonal prompting technique to encourage drivers to buckle up. This study examined the effectiveness of the respective sign for each intervention to increase belt use in 2 commuter parking lots at a large university. Observations were made on positive/negative hand gestures and positive/negative facial expression made when drivers were exposed to the respective signs. Data were collected during 3 non-consecutive 1 hour shifts, 4 days a week for 2 months. Researchers targeted unbuckled student drivers leaving the parking lots and flashed the respective sign, alternating signs each day. A total of 1,822 student drivers (574 women, 1,248 men) were exposed to the signs. Of those exposed to the FfL sign, 34% buckled, vs. 25% compliance with the CioT sign. In addition, the FfL sign elicited significantly more positive and less negative facial expressions and hand gestures than the CioT sign. Overall, the FfL technique appears to be more effective at increasing safety-belt use among college students. Further research should examine the lasting effects of the FfL intervention.



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