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.


33rd Annual Convention; San Diego, CA; 2007

Event Details

Previous Page


Invited Symposium #275
CE Offered: BACB
Improving Homeland Security Using Behavior Analysis: Basic and Applied Research Examples
Sunday, May 27, 2007
4:00 PM–5:20 PM
Douglas B
Area: OBM/CSE; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Jon S. Bailey (Florida State University/Florida Association for Behavior Analysis)
CE Instructor: Jon S. Bailey, Ph.D.



Human Vigilance during Luggage Screening Tasks: Signals Function as Reinforcement for Observing Responses

RYAN B. OLSON (Oregon Health & Science University), Matthew C. Bell (Santa Clara University), Lindsey Hogan (Santa Clara University)

A 2x2 factorial design tested the effects of signal schedule (extinction or VI 6-min) and visual field and signal context (DIAL with needle deflections or BAGGAGE with knives) on the rate of observing responses in a visual screening task. During 30-minute sessions, participants (n=24) pressed the spacebar to briefly view a BAGGAGE or DIAL image (two seconds) and pressed a hit key when a signal was present. Cumulative records of spacebar presses were approximately 30% steeper during VI 6-min conditions. Statistical analyses showed a main effect for target schedule [F (1,20)=12.4, p<.05], no main effect for visual context (F<1), and no interaction (F<1). The results highlight the importance of signal schedules in maintaining vigilant performance during visual screening tasks.

Dr. Ryan B. Olson completed undergraduate studies at Utah State University and earned his M.A. in Industrial and Organizational Psychology and his Ph.D. in Applied Behavior Analysis at Western Michigan University. Dr. Olson has published papers on the topics of occupational health and safety, performance improvement, work motivation, and aviation psychology and has served as a guest reviewer for the International Journal of Stress Management, the Journal of Organizational Behavior Management, and the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis. He has consulted with aviation, auto parts and paper products manufacturing, higher education, and pharmaceutical organizations on safety, training, psychological assessment, and performance improvement issues. Dr. Olson’s co-authored paper on work motivation became the feature article in a special issue of the Journal of Organizational Behavior Management (Olson, Laraway, & Austin, 2001). His work in transportation settings has opened new areas of occupational health and safety research, including the first experimental evidence that self-monitoring (SM) procedures can improve the safe driving of bus operators (Olson & Austin, 2001). He also developed a descriptive measurement system for beginning flight student landings, which resulted in the first published profile of landing errors for a cohort of novice pilots (Olson & Austin, in press).

Improving Human Performance in an Advanced Security System Environment: Vigilance Data from an Airport Communications Center

JON S. BAILEY (Florida State University/Florida Association for B), Marco D. Tomasi (Florida State University), Sara M. Olsen (Florida State University), Kimberly Erin Clark (Florida State University)

In a post-9/11 world, airport security has become a national priority. In 2005, the Department of Homeland Securitys (DHS) budget set aside $5.2 billion for the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and $851 million to improve aviation security. The current study was carried out within the operations division of a regional airport. The operations division is responsible for the airports communication center, safety, security, oversight of general aviation, ground transportation, compliance with FAA regulations, and coordination with police and fire services. We defined and measured vigilance behaviors in the communications center and evaluated the effects of naturally-occurring and specially designed behavioral intervention.

Dr. Jon S. Bailey is Professor of Psychology at Florida State University where he has been on the graduate faculty for 37 years and serves as Director of the Applied Behavior Analysis doctoral program and the undergraduate Performance Management Track and is Co-Director of the Master’s Program in Applied Behavior Analysis. Dr. Bailey is President of Behavior Management Consultants, Inc., is a licensed psychologist and a Board Certified Behavior Analyst in the State of Florida, has served on the Florida Behavior Management Peer Review Committee, and has been an Expert Witness for the U.S. Department of Justice. He is a Fellow of the Association for Behavior Analysis International and the American Psychological Association (APA), as well as the American Psychological Society. He has served on the Executive Councils of the Association for Behavior Analysis International and Division 25 of APA. He is currently the Secretary/Treasurer of the Florida Association for Behavior Analysis, which he founded in 1980. Dr. Bailey is the past-Editor of the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis and is co-author of four recent books, all co-authored with Dr. Mary Burch: Research Methods in Applied Behavior Analysis, How Dogs Learn, Ethics for Behavior Analysts, and, in 2006, How to Think Like a Behavior Analyst.
Towards a Program of Behavioral Research for Domestic Preparedness
MARK P. ALAVOSIUS (University of Nevada, Reno)
Abstract: Analyses of the events of 9/11 and hurricane Katrina reveal many behavioral, organizational, and system variables that thwart effective prevention and containment of such catastrophic events. This paper proposes areas for behavioral research and application in an effort to promote an integrated contribution by behavior analysts to homeland security.
Dr. Mark P. Alavosius, Ph.D. received his B.A. in psychology from Clark University in 1976 and earned his M.S. (1985) and Ph.D. (1987) in Psychology from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. He is an Assistant Professor of Psychology in the Behavior Analysis Program at the University of Nevada, Reno. He held faculty appointments in the Behavior Analysis and Industrial/Organizational Program at Western Michigan University and the Behavior Analysis Program at West Virginia University. As President of MPA & Associates, Inc., Dr. Alavosius works with specialists in instructional design, multi-media interactive systems, software development, business strategy, and performance management to develop and provide behavioral systems to improve performance in business and industry. His interests are in developing behavioral and instructional systems to improve work performance, particularly in the areas of health and safety. Dr. Alavosius has a proven track record with National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health as a recipient of Small Business Innovations Research Grants to develop and test behavioral safety technologies. With over twenty years of experience in behavioral approaches to work performance and occupational health and safety, Dr. Alavosius has over 100 publications and conference presentations to his credit.
Challenges to Security and Human Factors Research Efforts at the Department of Homeland Security
JOSHUA RUBINSTEIN (Transportation Security Laboratory, Department of Homeland Security)
Abstract: Dr. Rubinstein is a member of the Transportation Security Laboratory (TSL) within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The TSL is the key government laboratory resource in the United States, responsible for research, development, engineering, and test and evaluation activities related to explosives and weapons detection for all modes of transportation security. Dr. Rubinstein will discuss the role of research and development within the DHS and emerging priorities for the human factors research program at the TSL. He will also report results from selected human factors studies related to transportation security.
Dr. Joshua Rubinstein received a B.A. in Psychology from Swarthmore College in 1984, an M.A. in Cognitive Psychology from the University of Illinois in 1989, and a Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology from the University of Michigan in 1993. He was post-doctoral research fellow at the Center for Neuroscience at the University of California, Davis, where he conducted research on several aspects of attention, including human executive control processes. Dr. Rubinstein joined the FAA’s Aviation Security Human Factors Program in May 2000 as an Engineering Research Psychologist. He developed the X-ray Screener Selection Test currently used by TSA as the X-ray aptitude test for screener hiring. One of his current responsibilities is long-term research of a technical monitor of human factors. Starting in 2001, Dr. Rubinstein developed a program for funding academic scientists in the areas of attention, target detection, object recognition, training, learning, and fatigue as they relate to the X-ray screener task. Currently, he is acting lead of the Human Factors Program at the Transportation Security Laboratory. He is also responsible for usability analyses and designing and conducting the qualification tests for human in-the-loop security systems.



Back to Top
Modifed by Eddie Soh