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.


34th Annual Convention; Chicago, IL; 2008

Event Details

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Symposium #386
CE Offered: BACB
Behavior-Based Security and Safety: Improving Homeland Security with Behavior Analysis
Monday, May 26, 2008
10:30 AM–11:50 AM
Area: OBM/CSE; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Joseph R. Sasson (MedAxiom)
Discussant: John Austin (Western Michigan University)
CE Instructor: Marco D. Tomasi, Ph.D.

A founding dimension of applied behavior analysis is the focus on socially significant problems (Baer, Wolf, & Risely, 1968). In a post-9/11 world the improvement of safety, security, and vigilance behaviors has been viewed as such a problem. Recent examples have shown how basic and applied behavior analysis research can improve Homeland Security. The current session seeks to provide an update to this emerging research and broaden the scope of analysis and interventions discussed.

Behaviorally Impoverished Work Environments: The Implications of Extinction and Monotony for Safety and Security.
RYAN B. OLSON (Oregon Health & Science University), Matthew C. Bell (Santa Clara University)
Abstract: Behaviorally impoverished work environments, with low levels of reinforcement and task variation, have negative implications for both public safety and worker health. Extinction conditions result in decreased vigilance in simulated luggage screening. Qualitative analyses suggest that extinction is also aversive, as evidenced by participant extinction bursts, verbal complaints, and quit rates. Chronic stress, especially in environments where workers have low levels of control, is associated with negative health outcomes. Research in visual screening and driving safety suggests that environmental monotony is a related source of fatigue and performance errors. Moreover, certain individuals appear to be highly susceptible to monotony and other exogenous causes of fatigue, which may set the stage for safety or security catastrophes in behaviorally impoverished environments. Behavioral enrichment of important safety and security work environments is likely to maintain performance and protect public health.
Behavior Analysis and Airport Security: Effects of the Random Anti-Terrorism Measure System on Vigilance.
MARCO D. TOMASI (Florida State University), Jon S. Bailey (FSU, BMC, FABA)
Abstract: The current research was carried out within the operations division of a regional airport. The operations division is responsible for the airport’s communication center, safety, security, oversight of general aviation, ground transportation, compliance with FAA and TSA regulations, and coordination of police and fire services. Vigilance behaviors in the communications center were identified and defined. The Random Anti-Terrorism Measure System, or RAMS, was developed to systematically increase vigilance behaviors, provide frequent, performance-based feedback, and place minimal financial and time demands on management for maintenance. RAMS produced a 272% increase in vigilance performance.
Intelligence, Security, and the Application of Behavior Analysis.
Abstract: Dr. Jackson has spent over two decades incorporating principles of applied behavior analysis into advanced artificial intelligence applications. These automated behavior analysis applications have been validated to accurately identify antecedents and consequences of threatening behavior and to predict specific threat on problems of national concern. From detecting malicious behavior of hackers in real-time to identifying terrorist threat, all applications have a strong applied behavior analysis foundation. This technology has been used in areas such as terrorism, computer security, corporate espionage, and chemical/biological threat. Dr. Jackson will describe how automated behavior analysis works.



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