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.


35th Annual Convention; Phoenix, AZ; 2009

Event Details

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Symposium #358
Community Interventions Using Applied Behavior Analysis
Monday, May 25, 2009
9:00 AM–10:20 AM
North 131 A
Area: CSE/OBM; Domain: Applied Behavior Analysis
Chair: E. Scott Geller (Virginia Tech)
Abstract: Community based interventions represent a consistently important area of research, particularly in the realm of behavioral research. These talks highlight the myriad of problems within the community that applied behavior analysis can be used to address. The first three talks of the symposium use prompting techniques in different facets to increase positive community qualities such as safety-belt use and promoting environmentally responsible behaviors. The first talk compares the efficacy of two behavioral prompts in an attempt increase safety-belt use within the community. In the second, positive and negative prompts are used to decrease litter and increase environmentally responsible behavior in community grocery stores. In the third, prompts and pledges are used to increase reusable bag use at community grocery stores. The final talk addresses a specific method at identifying individuals in the work force who exhibit extra-helping behaviors. Each study addresses the nuances of applying behavioral interventions in a community, using community values as a foundation for change.
Increasing Safety-Belt Use Using Behavioral Prompts: Examining the Target Behavior and Relevant Body Language.
MATTHEW G. COX (Virginia Tech), Andrew Clarke (Virginia Tech), E. Scott Geller (Virginia Tech)
Abstract: Safety-belt use in the United States has leveled out over the past four years and remains stagnant at 81% (NHSTA, 2007) and the remaining non users constitute a significant area of concern for communities. The current method of choice for increasing safety-belt use throughout the nation is the selective traffic enforcement program known as the “Click it or Ticket” campaign. While this method had proved effective in many states, there are many limitations. An alternative method for increasing belt use includes the “Flash-for-Life” technique. Previous findings have suggested that the Flash-for-Life technique may be more effective at getting resistant unbuckled student-drivers at a large university to buckle up. The current paper compares the efficacy of the two interventions at two community supermarket locations. These locations offer a more diverse sample of participants that allow for a better generalization of results. Additionally, the paper focuses on positive and negative facial expressions and hand gestures to each of the respective signs and address whether the certain aspects of the prompting techniques have a significant impact on increasing belt use. Data to be collected.
Positive vs. Negative Antecedent Prompting for Litter Control: A Community-Based Systematic Investigation of Relative Effectiveness.
ELISE A. DRAKE (Virginia Tech), Kristen Davidson (Virginia Tech), Rachael E. Budowle (Center for Applied Behavior Systems, Virginia Tech), E. Scott Geller (Virginia Tech), Xin Zhao (Virginia Tech)
Abstract: Behavioral science is an area with great potential to aid in researching and evaluating environmentally responsible behaviors (ERBs). Knowing what action to take to ensure environmental sustainability requires an understanding of how interventions to change environmentally degrading behaviors can be most effective at increasing the frequency of ERBs. One of the most obvious examples of environmental degradation is litter. Litter, defined here as misplaced waste material (Geller, Winett, & Everett, 1982), is a form of environmental pollution that not only degrades the quality of the environment but also proves costly to taxpayers. A wide variety of ecological and monetary benefits result from a decrease in litter. The current research examined the effectiveness of positive vs. negative antecedent message prompts to reduce littering behavior. A methodology similar to the one used by Geller, Witmer, and Orebaugh (1976), in which handbills containing weekly supermarket specials and special anti-litter message prompts were distributed at local community shopping centers, was used daily during a two-week period. Results described will include differential effects of antecedent prompts, as well as gender effects on litter behavior. Conclusions regarding effectiveness of message prompt type (positive vs. negative) on litter behaviors will be discussed.
Increasing Environmentally Sustainable Behavior: Using Multiple Interventions to Increase the Use of Reusable Bags.
STEPHANIE G CASTELLANO CASTELLANO (Virginia Tech), Matthew G. Cox (Virginia Tech), Rachael E. Budowle (Center for Applied Behavior Systems, Virginia Tech), Megan Marie Lyons (Virginia Tech), E. Scott Geller (Virginia Tech)
Abstract: The excessive use of plastic bags has a significant negative impact on the environment. In addition to being a source of excessive waste in landfills, plastic bags not quickly or easily biodegrade and a significant amount of fossil fuel is required to produce them. Even when plastic bags do biodegrade, tiny toxic particles are released. The plastic bags ending up as pieces of large litter are hazardous to animals and have the potential to clog bodies of water. Community interventions have been proven to increase environmentally sustainable behavior on a large scale. In a previous study, implementation of a public pledge at local grocery stores was shown to actually decrease plastic bag use and increase reusable bags by 20%. In an attempt to build on this research, this study used, in addition to public pledges, prompts and other dynamic intervention strategies to increase the efficacy of previous research. Data will be collected and discussed in the context of community interventions.
Behavior Analysis in Organizations: Desperate Times Call for Great Measures (of OCB).
CYNTHIA MICHELLE FIFE (Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University)
Abstract: With the current state of the economy, individuals are justifiably concerned about the security of their jobs and organizations. The stability of the economic system relies on the success and stability of organizations. So what is fundamental to the stability and success of organizations? Organizational citizenship behavior (OCB), or extra-role helping behavior. Since 1963, experts have recognized the necessity of OCB to organization survival. Despite this acknowledgement, there is no sound assessment of OCB for the workplace. This study directly addresses that need. The OCB assessment developed in this study is designed to reflect all dimensions of the OCB construct, and the social environment in which OCB decisions are made. The assessment will be pilot tested on undergraduate students at a large research university, and professionals employed in local government, safety, real estate, and construction industries. At this time, data is yet to be collected. Upon completion of the study, an easy-to administer, meaningful, and accurate assessment of OCB will be available to organizations of all sizes and industries. Identification of new employees who are likely to help, and methods for increasing helping among current employees, will no doubt increase organizational stability in an increasingly unstable economic environment.



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