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 #433
BIG SIG Symposium 1: Behavior Analysis and Risk
Monday, May 25, 2009
1:30 PM–2:50 PM
North 131 A
Area: CSE; Domain: Applied Behavior Analysis
Chair: Mark R. Dixon (Southern Illinois University)
Abstract: The science of behavior analysis stretches to all facets of human behavior. One area of that behavior which could undoubtedly benefit from further exploration, is in that of risk. Therefore, the current symposium was created to address various risky behaviors in which humans engage, and offer behavior analytic explanations and concepts to the understanding and minimization of risky behavior.
Creating an Empirical Measure of Risk at Casino Table Games
MARK R. DIXON (Southern Illinois University)
Abstract: The cognitive concept of risk is used to define various features of gambling and the personality type of casino gamblers. While risk can be operationally defined in various ways, an empirical calculation is lacking when referring to games such as roulette, craps, and other table games. This paper will provide an operant account of risk, demonstrate the ability to bring risk under experimental control, and provide data between subjects whereby contingencies of reinforcement can either increase or decrease “risk”. Nonbehavioral accounts of risk are imprecise and inaccurate given the ability to quantify this dimension of behavior from a behavioral account.
Cognitive fallacies: Do they predict actual gambling behavior?
JEFFREY N. WEATHERLY (University of North Dakota), Katheryn Flannery Woehl (University of North Dakota)
Abstract: The research literature on gambling suggests that subscribing to certain cognitive fallacies is correlated with problem gambling. The present study had non-pathological participants completed a series of questionnaires designed to determine how strongly they subscribed to certain cognitive fallacies. They then gambled money on a slot machine and on video poker. If these cognitive fallacies influence gambling behavior, then participants' subscription to these fallacies should be predictive of their behavior when they are gambling. The results did not support this conclusion, indicating that other factors likely control gambling behavior.
Discounting Probability of Risk and Illness in Human Service Organizations
NICHOLAS MUI KER LIK (Southern Illinois University), Mark R. Dixon (Southern Illinois University)
Abstract: In 2006, the World Health Organization reported that of the 35 million healthcare workers around the world, about 3 million are exposed to bloodborne pathogens each year, and a lack of health precautions predisposes them to infection. This occurs across multiple settings, including nursing homes and residential facilities for clinical populations. Some health care workers may discount the probability of their getting an infection, and discounting of that probabilistic outcome may affect the likelihood of their engaging in precautionary measures. If the probabilistic discounting paradigm could be applied to workers in residential facilities, it could provide some insight about why people do or do not take proper measures to control infection. The current study attempted to assess the rate at which workers in settings such as a residential facility and a nursing home discounted the probability of being infected with diseases such as viral hepatitis and methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus while not engaging in proper safety precautions when caring for residents. Participants were also given questionnaires that asked them to self-report the frequency with which they engaged in specific precautionary measures such as wearing masks into a quarantine room and properly disposing of medical waste. Results and implications will be discussed.
The Effect of Financial Contingencies on Golf Performance
JAMES BORDIERI (Southern Illinois University- Carbondale), Michael Bordieri (Southern Illinois University Carbondale), Mark R. Dixon (Southern Illinois University)
Abstract: Previous research has demonstrated that the introduction of financial gain and loss contingencies can affect performance in a video-game golf simulation. Pilot data indicated that the shot accuracy of participants decreased and their shot variance increased when they were exposed to a monetary gain condition but not when they were exposed to a response cost condition. The present investigation was designed to replicate and extend the previous findings by examining the effect of different financial contingencies on golf performance in a natural environment. Experienced golfers were assessed for baseline performance on both the putting green and the practice range of a municipal golf course. After stability was established, participants were exposed to conditions in which shot accuracy led to financial rewards and other conditions in which shot accuracy led to financial punishers. Results and implications for a behavioral understanding of golf performance, risk taking, and the "choking" response will be presented.



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