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 #58
Behavioral Community Interventions From Small to Large Scales
Saturday, May 25, 2019
12:00 PM–12:50 PM
Fairmont, Lobby Level, Cuvee
Area: CSS; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Ingunn Sandaker (OsloMet – Oslo Metropolitan University)

Humans possess great capacity for behavioral change, but decades of research shows that our ability to make optimal choices and to change are limited. Since traditional information and education-based interventions show only modest benefits on compliance regarding healthier choices whether it is transmission of infectious diseases, overweight or ethical behavior a “unity of knowledge” might be needed. It is also essential to manage behavioral change at all scales – from individuals to small groups to large populations to cope with our society`s challenges. These presentations aim to build a bridge between behavior analysis and behavioral economics and span behavioral community intervention from a “simple nudge” to increase infection protection to public policy and cultural changes and its ethical concerns. The first study investigates whether a picture of observing eyes will increase cleaning behavior. In the second study both prompting and feedback are used to increase hygienic behavior and the third study investigates ethical behavior in the banking industry.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): behavioral intervention, health care, prompting, public policy
With My “Own” Eyes Only: A Field Experiment on “Priming” Hygienic Behavior in Gyms
HILDE MOBEKK (OsloMet – Oslo Metropolitan University), Hanne Jacobsen (OsloMet – Oslo Metropolitan University)
Abstract: The gym is an environment that is rich on microorganisms, and the exercise centers strive for better hygiene compliance amongst their members. Several experimental studies show that the physical presence of others, or the “illusion” of being watched, may alter behavior. This field experiment investigates a simple nudge; a picture of a pair of eyes, and the effect on cleaning behavior among gym members. A picture of "observing eyes" was attached to paper dispensers and cleanser spray bottles at two different gyms in Oslo. Observations were carried out with an A-B-A-B design; with and without the presence of the nudge. The number of members who washed the exercise equipment after use was recorded. The results of the study are based on 254 individual choice situations during nine observation sessions conducted over nine weeks. The data from both centers show an increase in the number of members who washed the exercise equipment when the images of eyes were present. These data give further support to previous research indicating that human behavior is influenced by the presence of implicit observation cues – in this case – observing eyes.
Promoting Hand Sanitizer Use in a University Cafeteria
CHRISTOPH F. BOERDLEIN (University of Applied Sciences Wuerzburg), Hanna Zwingmann (University of Applied Sciences Würzburg-Schweinfurt), Katrin Salzinger (University of Applied Sciences Würzburg-Schweinfurt), Kerstin Njeri (University of Applied Sciences Würzburg-Schweinfurt), Sarah Tozman (University of Applied Sciences Würzburg-Schweinfurt)
Abstract: Hand washing is the most cost-efficient method to lower the risk of transmission of infectious diseases. Especially before eating in public places like cafeterias, hand washing is recommended. Often people don’t wash hands before eating because of the response effort connected with going to the bathroom. As an alternative way to improve hygiene, disinfection with a hand sanitizer gel is recommended. The current study used an A-B-BC-A design with prompts and feedback to increase the number of cafeteria patrons using hand sanitizer. Dispensers for hand sanitizer gel were placed at the entrance area of a university cafeteria. After baseline measurement, a poster explaining the usefulness of hand sanitizing was posted near the entrance to the cafeteria. This led to a doubling of the percentage of cafeteria patrons using the hand sanitizer. A second poster provided feedback about the percentage of patrons sanitizing hands and asked for more participation. This led to no further increases in hand sanitizing.

Ethical Corporate Virtues in the United Kingdom Banking System


The public’s trust in the UK banking system (as in other industries worldwide) has been slowly recovering since the 2008-2009 financial crisis and the subsequent economic recession. The Banking Standards Board (BSB) was created to raise ethical behaviors and trustworthiness in this industry. Between 2016-2018, BSB conducted surveys, interviews and focus groups with thousands of employees from all banking sectors and hierarchical levels. The result is a comprehensive dataset of employees’ self-reported perceptions on nine topics, including honesty, respect, competence, accountability, among others. In 2018, the Insights unit was created to deepen these investigations through experiments and interventions. Such development, however, requires clear and evidence-based functional analyses on the interlocking behavioral contingencies in this industry. To advance on this goal, BSB’s dataset was contrasted with the eight normative criteria proposed by the Corporate Ethical Virtues Model (Kaptein 1998; 2008): clarity, congruency of supervisors, congruency of management, feasibility, supportability, transparency, discussability, and sanctionability. This exercise identified areas in which further investigations and interventions have the greatest potential to succeed and increase ethical cultures in the UK banking system.




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