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.


2012 Behavior Change for a Sustainable World Conference

Event Details

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Invited Symposium #13
CE Offered: PSY/BACB
Seeking Mainstream Acceptance of Behavioral Sustainability Solutions
Saturday, August 4, 2012
1:30 PM–2:30 PM
US Bank Conference Theater
Area: CSE; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Thomas S. Critchfield (Illinois State University)
CE Instructor: Thomas S. Critchfield, Ph.D.

Whatever its successes in developing better behavioral "mousetraps", behavior analysis has struggled to achieve broad-scale adoption of its scientific and practical solutions by the public and by policy makers. Significant challenges exist for linking the science of behavior to other specialized scholarly areas of relevance to sustainability, and linking behavioral sustainability solutions to mainstream values and concerns. Panelists will draw on personal experience of being a behavior analyst in a mainstream community in order to define some of the hurdles and opportunities that behavior analysts will confront when entering a multidisciplinary, mainstream arena such as sustainability. Note: The panelists will further explore topics introduced in this session, and invite audience questions and contributions, in the Sunday breakout session called, Spurring people to action: Some translational insights.

Instruction Level: Basic
Keyword(s): Sustainability
Target Audience:

BACB-certified behavior analysts and licensed psychologists.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of this session, participants should be able to do the following: 1. Identify some of professional areas outside of behavior analysis that address the problem of persuading policy-makers and the public to embrace and act upon new technologies. 2. Identify some impediments to the dissemination of new technologies and describe these in terms of behavioral processes. 3. Sketch general strategies for exporting the fruits of behavior science to nonexperts.
Real Translation: Communicating to Nonexperts About Advances in Behavior Analysis
MARK R. DIXON (Southern Illinois University)
Abstract: Gaining wide acceptance for sustainability solutions will require translating behavioral research and concepts for consumption by nonbehavioral audiences. I will reflect on my experiences discussing my research with mainstream popular media, and how this required me to stop preaching to the choir in order to get the rest of the world to listen.
Dr. Mark R. Dixon, BCBA-D, is professor and coordinator of the Behavior Analysis and Therapy Program at Southern Illinois University. His interests include the study of complex operant behavior, gambling behavior, and organizational behavior. Mark has published 3 books and over 100 peer reviewed journal articles. He has served as associate editor for Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis and Journal of Organizational Behavior Management, the editor for the Analysis of Gambling Behavior, and a reviewer for over 20 non-behavioral journals. Dr. Dixon has generated over 1.5 million dollars in funding to infuse behavior analysis within local schools and treatment facilities, and create a behavioral therapy clinic for persons suffering from problem gambling or obesity. Mark's research and/or expert opinions have been featured in Newsweek, Time, The New York Times, National Public Radio, This American Life, a New York Times best seller, and regional affiliates of ABC, CBS, and PBS.
Introducing Behavior Analysis to New and Timely Public Policy Research Domains
MICHAEL A. MAGOON (NORC at the University of Chicago)
Abstract: My comments draw partly on experiences attempting to bring behavior analysts into potentially high-profile public-policy-related research projects, including in the domains of energy and environment. I will share some anecdotes regarding approaches that have resulted in better and worse results. Along the way I will present some examples of the kinds of projects in which I'm trying to get behavior analysts involved; will share thoughts on why, from a behavioral perspective, this is difficult; and will present some ideas on how we can more systematically approach translation to new fields. Finally, I will appeal to all of you to get in touch with me about finding some multi-disciplinary research opportunities in areas with broad social impact!
Dr. Magoon is a research scientist and the environment lead in the Security, Energy, and Environment department at NORC at the University of Chicago (NORC). NORC is an independent, non-profit social science research organization whose mission is to provide objective data and analysis to public policy decision makers and ultimately to affect evidence-based social change. He's also a behavior analyst whose graduate work included both basic human operant laboratory research and a variety of organizational behavior management (OBM) projects. On completion of his degree, he set out to bring behavior analysis to those who don't know much about it (and there are many!). In his first effort, he tried to bring OBM to a very large and well-established management consulting firm. In that environment he learned quite a bit about how other disciples understand and respond to modern behavior analysis. In his current position, he's trying to develop relationships and build collaborations between behavior analysts and other scientists and practitioners from other disciplines to conduct research in the domains of security, energy, and environment. In this position, he's learning quite a bit about the barriers and challenges of doing this, both from within and outside of the field
Behavioral Economics and the Tower of Babel
SHAWN R. CHARLTON (University of Central Arkansas)
Abstract: Behavioral economics has a lot to contribute to the goal of encouraging long-term sustainability. Unfortunately, the contributions of behavioral economics are limited because this field is viewed differently by psychologists, economists, and behavior analysts. This presentation will discuss the benefits and pitfalls to adopting an inclusive view of behavior economics in addressing sustainability issues.
Shawn Charlton earned a doctorate in experimental psychology at the University of California at San Diego and is now associate professor of psychology at the university of central Arkansas. His research interests focus on contextual influences on decision making with a specific emphasis on social, temporal, and hormonal factors.
Science, Better Mousetraps, and the Science of Dissemination
RONNIE DETRICH (Wing Institute)
Abstract: Across many disciplines there is a research to practice gap and the field of environmental science is no different. If we are to have an impact on the health of the planet, then it is necessary to develop methods to influence the large-scale adoption of different practices with respect to the environment. To date, efforts have been largely inadequate; however, there is an emerging science of dissemination of innovations that has great relevance for this topic. This discussion will focus on key principles from this emerging science that can increase the efficacy and efficiency of our efforts.
Ronnie Detrich is a senior fellow of the Wing Institute. The Institute’s mission is bringing evidence-based interventions and programs to K-12 education. Prior to joining the Wing Institute, Ronnie worked for over 30 years in a variety of human service settings and quickly learned that having data was rarely sufficient to bring about important changes; it is necessary as well to develop effective social influence skills. His current work at the Wing Institute focuses on those variables that improve the quality of implementation of educational innovations.



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