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.


45th Annual Convention; Chicago, IL; 2019

Event Details

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Symposium #52
CE Offered: BACB
Behavior Change for a Sustainable World: Four Research Projects
Saturday, May 25, 2019
11:00 AM–12:50 PM
Fairmont, B2, Imperial Ballroom
Area: CSS/EDC; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: William L. Heward (The Ohio State University)
Discussant: Susan M. Schneider (Root Solutions)
CE Instructor: William L. Heward, Ed.D.
Abstract: For many climate scientists, the biggest challenge of global warming has shifted from proving it is real to getting people to change their behavior in response to it (Thompson, 2010; Werner, 2012). Even if all fossil fuel emissions ceased today, the Earth will continue warming for decades (Marcott, Shakun, Clark, & Mix, 2013). Successfully adapting to that reality will require massive changes in energy sources and use, transportation infrastructure, food production, ecosystem protection, and economic practices on a global scale far beyond the scale of behavior changes we can make now. But the collective impact of the behavior changes we make now can give society time to discover the technological fixes and implement the policy changes necessary to make carbon neutrality and truly sustainable society realities. For researchers and practitioners of a science devoted to understanding behavior and how to change it, helping people mitigate and adapt to climate change is a tremendous opportunity, challenge, and responsibility. This symposium will feature four studies using behavior analysis concepts and principles to promote sustainable practices/environmentally friendly behavior change.
Instruction Level: Basic
Target Audience: Behavior analysts, teachers and students of behavior analysts.
Learning Objectives: 1. Describe how drivers can obtain real-time feedback on hard-accelerations and hard-braking behaviors. 2. Describe the experimental design and results of a treatment package that reduced idling by drivers picking up students at three schools. 3. Describe the behavior change project that reduced use of sunscreens containing toxic chemicals that harm coral reefs and the ocean eco-system.

Promoting Eco-Driving With Immediate Feedback

JAVID RAHAMAN (Rowan University), Bethany R. Raiff (Rowan University)

Driving gasoline powered cars contributes to greenhouse gas emissions and pollutants. This study used an ABAB reversal design to examine the effects of immediate feedback on non-ecofriendly driving behavior (i.e., hard braking, hard accelerating). An “Automatic” device was installed in each participant’s car to measure specific parameters of driving, including accelerating, braking, and fuel consumption. During the baseline condition participants received feedback after driving by logging in to the Automatic application on their smartphone. During the immediate condition participants received feedback from the “Automatic” device while driving. All three participants had an overall decrease in episodes of hard accelerations/hard brakes during the immediate feedback condition compared to the delayed feedback baseline condition.

Reducing Electricity Consumption in Commercial Printers
JESSICA DAY-WATKINS (Drexel University), Lauren K. Schnell (Hunter College), Jason C. Vladescu (Caldwell University)
Abstract: Scientists in the field of applied behavior analysis have recommended that behavior analysts apply their attention to the field of sustainability (Heward and Chance, 2010). No sustainability study to date has been published on reductions in printer usage. There are a number of advantages to targeting this topography of energy consumption including reductions energy and paper as well as cost savings to the organization. Given the advantages in targeting commercial printers, this study used automated data collection technology to study reductions of energy consumption from commercial printers in two office suites using electronic feedback, incentives while adding antecedent strategies in the form of manipulating the onset of power saver mode. The data demonstrate that power-saving mode was effective in reducing kilowatt hour energy consumption across both office suites.

Enough With the Idling! Evaluation of a Treatment Package to Reduce Vehicle Idling at Three Schools in New Jersey

CORTNEY DEBIASE (Alpine Learning Group), Jaime DeQuinzio (Alpine Learning Group), Bridget A. Taylor (Alpine Learning Group)

Idling vehicles pollute the air around the vehicle and the exhaust can enter school buildings through air intakes, doors, and open windows. Children are especially vulnerable to vehicle emissions because of their developing lungs, smaller lung surface area, and higher inhalation rate. Emissions can lead to serious health conditions like asthma and allergies (US Environmental Protection Agency, 2003). Along with health conditions, idling vehicles also cause wasted fuel, wear and tear, and wasted money. Given these factors, we designed a study to decrease vehicle idling during school dismissal. We conducted a non-current multiple baseline design across three schools to evaluate the effects of a treatment package on the percentage of 10-s intervals during which vehicles were idling 15 minutes prior to dismissal. The treatment package consisted of providing drivers with a written policy and rationale along with verbal instructions as well as stimulus prompts in the form of “No Idling” signs placed on school grounds. Idling decreased across the three schools with the implementation of the treatment package, however data remained variable. The mean percentage of intervals scored with idling decreased from baseline to treatment. The importance of implementing behavior change for a sustainable world programs within schools will be discussed, as well as the challenges of such programs.


Increasing Use of Non-Oxybenzone Sunscreen

Naomi Tachera (Hawai'i Association for Behavior Analysis), AMANDA N. KELLY (BEHAVIORBABE (Hawaii))

Coral bleaching negatively impacts the biodiversity and functioning of reef systems and has become a worldwide phenomenon. Benzophenone-3 (BP-3; oxybenzone) contributes to coral bleaching, decline of coral growth and death (Downs et al., 2015). Oxybenzone is also harmful algae, fish and mammals. Oxybenzone is commonly found in sunscreen lotions to protect against the harmful effects of ultraviolet light. Danovaro et al. (2008) reports that 6-000-14,000 tons of sunscreen is discharged into the coral reefs each year. The level of oxybenzone concentration deemed toxic to Hawai?I’s coral reefs is 62 parts per trillion (PPT). Downs et al (2015) tested levels of 700+ PPT. Hawai?i has banned the use of sunscreens containing oxybenzone effective 2021. This presentation will describe a project with dual goals of educating people and getting them to switch to mineral-based, oxybenzone-free sunscreen. Because there were not enough brands that communicated or connected with Hawai?ian culture, I decided to develop my own mineral sunscreen. After two years I successfully obtained FDA approval for Ko?a (Hawai’ian word for coral) sunscreen. To date, I have traded more than 80 free 2-oz. samples of Ko?a sunscreen for more than 150 bottles of reef killing sunscreen. I also organize sunscreen drop offs to ensure the reef killing sunscreen goes to the state-run incinerator and never make its way to the ocean and landfills.




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