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.


40th Annual Convention; Chicago, IL; 2014

Event Details

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Symposium #68
Behavioral Community Intervention and Actively Caring: From Dream Chasing to Making a Difference
Saturday, May 24, 2014
3:00 PM–4:50 PM
W190b (McCormick Place Convention Center)
Area: CSE/OBM; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Ryan C. Smith (Virginia Tech Transportation Institute )
Discussant: Timothy D. Ludwig (Appalachian State University)

We are besieged by daunting societal problems. Thanks to the internet, smart phones and tablet devices, we know more than perhaps wed like about the nations online scams and identity theft, violence and interpersonal conflict in schools, terrorism, political gridlock, and alcohol abuse. Human behavior contributes to each of these issues; and must be part of the solution. The first two research papers in this symposium reveal challenges in promoting an actively caring for people (AC4P) culture. Each demonstrates strategies to make an AC4P culture happen, and thereby promote win-win interdependence and a systems mindset over win-lose independence fueling, interpersonal conflict and suboptimal performance. The second two papers report community-based research that analyzed behaviors crucial to preventing identity theft and excessive alcohol consumption. Each of these studies demonstrates behavioral benefits of their research; the potential for large-scale, socially-valid application of the findings will be evident and discussed. The Discussant will be Timothy D. Ludwig, Professor and Director of the Industrial/Organizational Graduate program at Appalachian State University. As former Editor of the Journal of Organizational Behavior Management, Dr. Ludwig will provide valuable insight regarding the potential of the research presented here to benefit organizations and communication in the U.S., and beyond.


Intervening to Increase Interpersonal Thanking: Behavioral Impact of a Social Label on Commitment

MICHAEL EKEMA-AGBAW (Virginia Tech), Jenna McCutchen (Virginia Tech), Micah Roediger (Virginia Tech), E. Scott Geller (Virginia Tech)

This study examined the impact of Actively Caring for People (AC4P) wristbands and reflective writing on students' commitment to thank others for their AC4P behavior. In one class, students (n=304) were offered AC4P wristbands (Wristband class), while students in another class (n=341) were not. Within each class, students were randomly assigned to one of three writing conditions: 1) Describe situations where you thanked others. 2) Describe situations where you were thanked by others. 3) Describe three meals you have recently eaten (Control condition). All students were asked to commit to thank a person for AC4P behavior with a special "Thank You Card." A greater proportion of students in the Wristband class made a commitment than did students in the No Wristband class (p < .001). In the Wristband class, the writing conditions had no effect on intentions or reports of thanking behavior. However, in the No Wristband class, significantly more students in the two writing conditions made a commitment than did students in the Control condition (p < .001). The three tables summarize these results. This is the fifth in a series of investigations to study ways to increase interpersonal thanking of AC4P behavior. The informative results of these other studies will be reviewed.

Identifying Prosocial Change Agents for Organizational Change: An AC4P Application for University Student Organizations
KYLE PACQUE (Virginia Tech ), Shane McCarty (Virginia Tech ), Tanner Kluth (Virginia Tech )
Abstract: News reports document problems with the fraternity and sorority culture, from binge drinking and racial discrimination, to deaths caused by hazing. Punitive approaches to counteract these issues have been relatively ineffective, suggesting the need for an Actively Caring for People (AC4P) culture. Part 1 of this study demonstrated that a student-organization member’s position of influence predicted his/her reported frequency of prosocial behavior performed for organizational members. Social Network Analysis (SNA) and multiple regression analysis used two variables to predict the frequency of prosocial or AC4P behaviors performed toward organizational members: 1) frequency of self-reported influential relational ties, and 2) one’s relative standing in the social network (i.e., influence centrality). Part 2 used SNA measures to identify those opinion leaders best positioned (see orange nodes in the figure) to receive AC4P workshops on behavior analysis principles from Organizational Behavior Management (OBM). Subsequently, opinion leaders developed strategies to address such issues as organization meeting attendance and policy infractions. Behavioral frequencies from prior semesters and throughout the four-week intervention supported the use of SNA to identify opinion leaders to receive AC4P workshops on OBM principles and applications. Correlations of the frequencies of recognition and prosocial behaviors are depicted in the attached table.

Prompting Cashiers to Request Identification: A Community-wide Intervention to Prevent Identity Theft

CHRISTOPHER DOWNING (Virginia Tech), Nicole Capriola (Virginia Tech ), Megan Tucker (Virginia Tech ), E. Scott Geller (Virginia Tech)

Victims of credit-card fraud experience financial and psychological distress, and millions of dollars are drained from businesses and our economy. Instances of credit-card fraud could be reduced substantially if cashiers checked customers for their identification (ID) during credit-card purchases. In an attempt to increase cashiers' ID-checking behavior, the present study compared the impact of three messages placed on the back of a consumer's credit/debit card: an Antecedent Only ("Check my ID"), an Antecedent with a Positive Consequence ("Check my ID to PROMOTE identity security"), and an Antecedent with a Negative Consequence ("Check my ID to PREVENT identity theft") with credit cards containing no prompt. Research assistants made credit-card purchases in various stores in Blacksburg, Virginia, and used one of four cards while noting the cashier's ID-checking behavior. As depicted in the figure, cashiers checked customers' ID most when the credit/debit card contained the prompt with the positive consequence (i.e., 53.8% of 26 purchases), second most often when the prompt contained the negative consequence (i.e., 38.5% of 26 purchases), less when the prompt mentioned no consequence (i.e., 26.9% of 26 purchases), and never for the 26 cards without a prompt. Implications for large-scale application will be discussed.


Do As I Say Not As I Do: Influence of Parenting on College Students' Drinking

ZECHARIAH ROBINSON (Virginia Tech), Stephanie Cario (Virginia Tech ), Suzana Pratt (Virginia Tech ), Ryan C. Smith (Virginia Tech Transportation Institute), E. Scott Geller (Virginia Tech)

Alcohol consumption among college/university students accounts for nearly 1,800 deaths, 600,000 injuries, and 97,000 sexual assaults each year (Hingson, 2005, 2009). Indeed, 20 to 25% of college/university students are estimated to have drinking problems (Berkowitz & Perkins, 1986). While research has demonstrated a link between high-school and college/university drinking (Weschler, 2002), little research has shown how parenting in high school can impact alcohol consumption among college/university students. A total of 238 undergraduate students (72.0% male) were recruited randomly over two nights in a downtown setting. Participants answered survey questions regarding their: a) parental punishment for underage drinking, b) alcohol consumption with their parents, and c) own drinking behaviors. The participants were then administered a breath alcohol test (Lifeloc FC-20 ? .005 g/mL). As depicted in the figures, positive correlations were found between parental punishment and college drinking (r =.329, p < .01) with the most alcohol consumption occurring among students punished for drinking by parents who consumed alcohol. Consuming alcohol in high school was positively correlated with BAC (r = .195, p < .01) with an average downtown BAC of 0.100 g/mL. Results indicated a need for change in parental patterns in handling alcohol consumption among high-school students.




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