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.


31st Annual Convention; Chicago, IL; 2005

Event Details

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Paper Session #414
Int'l Paper Session - Community Safety and Environmental Design
Tuesday, May 31, 2005
9:00 AM–10:20 AM
Marquette (3rd floor)
Area: OBM
Chair: Ron Van Houten (Mount Saint Vincent University)
A Field Evaluation of the Safe-T Rider School Escalator Safety Program on Children’s Escalator Use in the Community
Domain: Applied Research
RON VAN HOUTEN (Mount Saint Vincent University), J. E. Louis Malenfant (Centre for Education and Research in Safety)
Abstract: The Safe-T Rider escalator safety program was evaluated using a multiple baseline design across two cities: Tallahassee, Florida; and Saint John, New Brunswick. The purpose of this study was to determine if the Safe-T Rider program improved the behavior of pupils, grades kindergarten through 5, using escalators within the community. Behavioral strategies include, video modeling of safety behaviors, having parents go over the material with the children, and awarding students a certificate and sticker for completing the home portion of the program with the workbook. Program effectiveness was evaluated by observing children using escalators located in busy shopping malls in each city. After collecting baseline data in public shopping malls in both cities, the Safe-T Rider program was implemented in Tallahassee while the city of Saint John remained in the baseline condition. Next the treatment was introduced in the city of Saint John. The introduction of the program was associated with improvements in a number of escalator safety behaviors in each city. In both cities the percentage of children stepping on safely, facing forward, standing clear of the sides of the escalator, standing still while riding; and stepping off carefully increased.
Behavioral Engineering in the Design of Physical Technology: An Opportunity for Dissemination
Domain: Applied Research
RON VAN HOUTEN (Mount Saint Vincent University)
Abstract: One obstacle to the wide scale dissemination of behavioral technology is the difficulty inherent in changing the behavior of a large number of people in a short period of time. One technique, which has often been tried, involves influencing the behavior of public policy makers. Although this strategy is more efficient than trying to change the culture one person at a time, it often has fails to yield good results because behavior analysts find themselves competing with advocates of less empirically grounded approaches with better access to important decision makers. Another approach to producing large-scale cultural change involves the use of physical technology. Technology has arguable produces the largest changes in cultural behavior over the past several hundred years, if not over the cultural history of the species. Skinner noted the promise of this approach in The Technology of Teaching. Although the idea of a teaching machine was somewhat ahead of its time, the ubiquitous availability of microprocessor technology in a wide array of consumer and industrial products presents a unique opportunity for cultural change. In this paper I will give examples of how technology designed to implement behavior analytic principles can produce changes in myriad behaviors ranging form seatbelt use to safety practices in hospitals.
A Behavior Analysis of Walking: The Principle of Economy of Effort
Domain: Applied Research
STEPHEN C. BITGOOD (Jacksonville State University), Stephany Dukes (Jacksonville State University), Jim Shurbutt (Jacksonville State University)
Abstract: Walking is the most common way that humans move from one place to another. Despite how ubiquitous this behavior is, there has been little systematic study from a behavior analytic perspective. This symposium will examine the relationship between walking and the built environment. A unifying empirical principle will be proposed to account for many findings in the literature. This principle is economy of effort/movement – pedestrians take as few steps as possible to reach their destination. The three papers will provide empirical support for this principle in museums, shopping malls, and university campuses. In the case of museums, visitors tend to turn right, walk in a straight line from gallery entrance to exit, and view only one side of a two-sided exhibit. In shopping malls pedestrian choices at intersections involve the fewest number of steps (e.g., turning right from the right side of a corridor). And, on university campuses, students avoid walking between classes and attempt to park as close to the classroom entrance as possible (even when it means negotiating frustrating traffic congestion. This simple principle (economy of movement) has important implications for the design of public places that are often ignored by architects and other designers.



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