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.


46th Annual Convention; Washington DC; 2020

Event Details

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Symposium #60
CE Offered: BACB
Behavior Analysis and Crime: Smuggling, Killing, and Justice Systems
Saturday, May 23, 2020
11:00 AM–12:50 PM
Marriott Marquis, Level M4, Liberty M
Area: CSS; Domain: Translational
Discussant: Mark A. Mattaini (Jane Addams College of Social Work-University of Illinois at Chicago)
CE Instructor: James Nicholson Meindl, Ph.D.

Criminal behavior is a broad, socially significant problem that affects many individuals and wider communities across the world. For example, in America, mass shootings occur on average 334 times per year, and smuggling activities contribute towards acts of terrorism which cause devastation and costs countries billions to manage. A factor that can increase the likelihood of a person committing criminal activity is a previous learning history with crime, and operant behaviors with which it is associated. If conceptualized behaviorally, environmental factors and functional relations maintaining criminal repertoires could be addressed pragmatically and effectively. The possible applications of behavior analysis to criminal activity are broad-ranging, and we will present the application of the science in a port setting to analyze and explore behaviors of interest, explore behavioral skills training for active shooting scenarios, present a behavioral conceptualization of mass killings, and research the use of behavior analysis in criminal justice systems. Although the applications presented in this symposium are diverse, they represent an attempt to understand criminal behaviors, and how these can be manipulated or changed with behavior analysis.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): BST, justice systems, mass killings, smuggling
Target Audience:

Any individual who wants to learn more on a new dissemination topic Those in behavior analysis with interest in expanding into their communities

Learning Objectives: Audience members will learn about another potential route of dissemination of behavior analysis. Audience members can describe potential steps to take if in an active shooter scenario. Audience members can discuss issues of social validity and how behavior analysis can have an impact.
Evaluating the Effect of Specialist Detection Dogs Presence in Ports
(Applied Research)
EMMA WILLIAMS (Bangor University), Rebecca A Sharp (Bangor University), Gareth Harvey (Bangor University, North Wales, UK )
Abstract: There is little research on the effectiveness of specialist dogs as a deterrent against smuggling in ports. Smuggling is a covert behavior, and therefore unlikely to be able to be observed or measured directly. Similarly, the use of dogs as a deterrent requires a measure of not current behavior, but future behavior, which means that the behavior and antecedent are temporally distant and the relationship between them difficult to determine. We used an alternating treatments design to measure a proxy behavior; how people respond to the presence of a dog. We observed passengers in a port when a police officer was present, a police officer with an unmarked specialist dog was present, and a police officer with specialist dog wearing a high visibility jacket was present. We found that when the salience of the dog was increased (i.e., it was wearing a coat) more people engaged in behaviors such as looking at the dog, talking to it, or changed direction when they saw it. Although these data do not measure smuggling behavior directly, our study represents a first attempt to evaluate empirically the possibility that dogs are discriminative stimuli for the punishment of smuggling behavior in ports.

CANCELED: Behavioral Skills Training for Active Shooter Scenarios: Human Service

(Applied Research)
JACQUELINE NOTO (Florida Institute of Technology), Katie Nicholson (Florida Institute of Technology), Sandhya Rajagopal (Florida Institute of Technology), James Arnold Riswick-Estelle (Florida Institute of Technology), Nicholas Weatherly (Florida Institute of Technology)

Active shooter scenarios have become increasingly prevalent in school and healthcare settings. Unfortunately, little information is available on training for active shooter scenarios when a staff member is also responsible for a client. Previous research suggests that around 75% of individuals freeze across a variety of emergency situations. Through training, it is likely this freezing will decrease. Behavioral skills training has been shown to be an effective way to train safety skills in prior research. We found that behavioral skills training was more effective than an informational video at increasing correct responses to three different active shooter scenarios among three behavioral clinicians. Responding was also assessed for generalization to novel antecedent stimuli for the conditions of run, hide, and fight. All participants generalized after one or fewer sessions. Furthermore, responding maintained over a 2 week period at 83% correct responding or higher. These findings may impact how active shooter training is conducted specifically in terms of needed active participation of the learner.

Extending Behavior Analysis to Active Shootings: A Conceptual Analysis
JAMES NICHOLSON MEINDL (The University of Memphis), Jonathan W. Ivy (The Pennsylvania State University - Harrisburg ), Mason Baughmann (Pennsylvania State University - Harrisburg), Amanda Hammer (Pennsylvania State University - Harrisburg)
Abstract: Active shooting events are unfortunately all too common in the United States. Statistics from the Federal Bureau of Investigation indicate that between 2000 and 2018 there were 277 active shooter incidents resulting in 884 deaths and 1,546 wounded casualties. Further, there appears to be an increasing trend across time in both number of incidents and casualties. When an active shooting event occurs the typical response is to either propose physically preventing future shootings (e.g., restrict access to guns; provide enhanced security) or to suggest the cause is a mental health disorder. Far less frequently discussed are accounts to explain how the shooter came to engage in the destructive behavior. This talk will describe the currently popular explanations of active shooters and identify the limitations of those traditional accounts. A more behavioral perspective of active shooters/mass killers will then be detailed. Finally, the advantages of this behavioral approach for both researchers and interventionists will be described, as will the inherent challenges to a behavioral account of active shootings.
The Application and Dissemination of ABA to the Civil and Criminal Justice Systems
(Basic Research)
Abstract: Applied Behavior Analysis is a field that has served many different areas and assisted many individuals and families in need. In addition, it has also been of benefit to businesses and organizations with Organizational Behavior Management programs. Many new areas from diet and fitness to industrial safety have sought solutions from a behavioral point of view. The criminal justice field has grappled with identification, management of incarceration, probation and parole, recidivism and numerous other problems directly related to behavior change. Among the areas where both fields (criminal justice and behavior analysis) converge are: domestic violence prevention, competency to stand trial programs, juvenile justice, preventing suicide in the correctional system, the stopping of mass violence and rehabilitation. Articles written on these subject matters have included the prevention of abduction for adults and children with disabilities (2010, 2013 and 2014), trial contingency management in a drug court (2008) and sex offender assessment (2006, 2014 and 2017), reducing prison misconduct (2006), and the elimination of domestic violence (1995 and 2008) as well as other pertinent topics. In this discussion, the different ways that behavior analysis could be of benefit to this very human area are examined, and suggestions are made regarding how to disseminate our knowledge to one of our most vexing social problems: crime and delinquency.



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