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.


41st Annual Convention; San Antonio, TX; 2015

Event Details

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Symposium #312
CE Offered: BACB
First World Problems: Behavior Economic Analyses of Running, Tanning, Borrowing, and Exotic Dancing
Monday, May 25, 2015
9:00 AM–10:50 AM
006D (CC)
Area: EAB; Domain: Basic Research
Chair: Shea M. Lemley (The University of Kansas)
Discussant: Jeffrey N. Weatherly (University of North Dakota)
CE Instructor: Shea M. Lemley, M.A.
Abstract: Behavior economics has provided insight into a variety of real world problems, including substance use, gambling, and overeating. Areas of interest to behavior economic researchers are expanding to include a broader array of potential behavior problems. This symposium focuses on relatively novel areas of behavior economic interest. Mahoney and Lawyer examine delay and probability discounting in users of short term loans. Speelman, Rowsey, Daar, and Dixon examine delay discounting by women in service positions requiring varying degrees of revealing attire. Sofis, Simmons, and Jarmolowicz study long distance runners’ delay discounting of money and both demand and delay discounting of minutes running. Becirevic, Kaplan, and Reed examine demand for ultra-violet indoor tanning (UVIT) in groups of tanners defined as non-users, ex-users, and current users. These talks demonstrate how behavior economic analyses continue to provide valuable data regarding patterns of decision-making across a number of real world problems.
Keyword(s): behavior economics, delay discounting, demand, impulsivity
Delay and Probability Discounting among Payday and Title Loan Recipients
COLIN MAHONEY (Idaho State University), Steven R. Lawyer (Idaho State University)
Abstract: Impulsive choice patterns are associated with the use of payday or title loans (Gathergood, 2012), which are short-term loans that provide an immediate and certain monetary reward, but also include a delayed and uncertain aversive outcome in the form of exorbitant fees and interest. Delay discounting (DD) and probability discounting (PD), which measure different aspects of impulsive choice, offer a unique opportunity to understand the impulsivity-related aspects of payday and title loans. In this study, community-dwelling participants between the ages of 18 and 30 completed delay and probability discounting tasks for hypothetical money. Patterns of discounting were characterized using area under the curve and compared among participants who reported taking out a payday and/or title loan in the past (n = 41) and those who did not (n = 255) using t-tests. There was a significant difference between individuals who endorsed taking out payday and/or title loans versus those who did not on delay discounting tasks, but not probability discounting tasks. These findings suggest that these individuals are more likely than controls to devalue monetary outcomes as a function of delay, but not probability.
Monetary Discounting Across Exotic Dancers and Waitresses of Varying Establishments
RYAN C. SPEELMAN (Southern Illinois University), Kyle Rowsey (Southern Illinois University Carbondale), Jacob H. Daar (Southern Illinois University ), Mark R. Dixon (Southern Illinois University)
Abstract: Behavioral problems are correlated with decreased sensitivity to larger delayed rewards (Dixon, Marley, & Jacobs, 2003). Delay discounting, a measure of impulsivity, is a reliable indicator of problematic behavior patterns including pathological gambling (Dixon et al., 2003), alcohol consumption (Moore & Cusens, 2010) and smoking (Odum, Madden, & Bickel, 2002). Participants employed in various service positions including exotic dancers, waitresses at Hooters and waitresses of restaurants where revealing clothes are not part of the work attire were recruited. Participants were asked to make several hypothetical choices between $1000 available immediately and an equal or lesser amount available after a delay. Women who were willing to expose themselves or wear revealing clothing as part of a job requirement were found to discount the value of delayed rewards more than women who work in professions where this is not required. For women working as exotic dancers or in establishments in which wearing revealing clothing is a requirement, impulsive behavior patterns may be problematic as the long term benefits and job security of these professions may be negligible. Protocols to help teach self-control and decrease impulsive behavior patterns may be especially warranted for individuals seeking these types of professions.
Two Steps Forward, One Step Back? A Behavior Economic Analysis of Long Distance Runners’ Valuation of Running
MICHAEL SOFIS (The University of Kansas), J. Simmons (University of Kansas), David P. Jarmolowicz (The University of Kansas)
Abstract: In the current study, 38 trail runners (14 ultra-marathoners, 7 full marathoners, and 18 half-marathoners) completed two delay discounting tasks. Participants’ valuation of immediate vs. delayed money was assessed in one discounting task whereas the other discounting task measured valuation of immediate vs. delayed minutes of running. Participants reported the number of miles they ran each week and completed a hypothetical purchase task that asked how many minutes they would run across a range of prices. No significant differences observed for demand of minutes of running whether comparing between groups or as a function of weekly mileage. Amongst all participants, minutes of running was discounted at a higher rate than money (p= .009). When comparing self-reported mileage and minutes of running discounting, there was a negatively correlated trend (r= -.367) from 0 to 40 miles and a positively correlated trend from 40 miles and greater (r= .507). This significant difference between trends (p= .008) suggests a potential U-shaped relation wherein discounting of minutes of running is greatest when running mileage is closer to zero or over 40 miles per week. Results suggest that discounting of minutes of running might be a sensitive measure of running as a commodity.
The Essential Value of Ultra-Violet Indoor Tanning: A Behavioral Economic Analysis of an At-Risk Population
AMEL BECIREVIC (The University of Kansas), Brent Kaplan (The University of Kansas), Derek D. Reed (The University of Kansas)
Abstract: Ultra-violet indoor tanning (UVIT) is a pervasive issue affecting over 30 million Americans annually, despite well-publicized links to skin cancer (Fisher & James, 2010; Woo & Eide, 2010). UVIT users are predominantly non-hispanic white females between the ages of 18 and 25 (Boniol et al. 2012). Recent studies on UVIT have demonstrated that frequent users are able to distinguish between UV- and non-UV-emitting tanning beds, with some users even displaying withdrawal symptoms, thus providing support for physiological reinforcing effects of UV exposure (Feldman et al., 2004; Kaur et al., 2006). Despite calls for research, relatively little behavioral research has been done on UVIT use. This presentation examines UVIT use within the framework of the reinforcer pathologies model of addiction. Specifically, 222 (Mage = 19.69; SDage = 2.5 years) college-aged females completed a hypothetical purchase task for tanning packages where consumption (probability of purchase) was a function of increasing prices. Data were fitted according to the Hursh and Silberberg (2008) exponential demand equation. Results show differences in consumption between non-users, ex-users, and current users; the latter group yielding higher scores across all metrics of demand. Our findings indicate that applied behavioral economics offers unique insights in the study of UVIT.



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