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.


44th Annual Convention; San Diego, CA; 2018

Event Details

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Symposium #510
CE Offered: BACB
Fighting Climate Change Together: Successes and Opportunities for Behavior Analysis Principles in the Mainstream
Monday, May 28, 2018
4:00 PM–4:50 PM
Marriott Marquis, Marina Ballroom G
Area: CSS/PRA; Domain: Translational
Chair: Susan M. Schneider (Root Solutions)
CE Instructor: Susan M. Schneider, Ph.D.

Behavior analysis principles have been exhaustively replicated and applied, as we're well aware. The sustainability community, however, is frequently not aware of the full scope of our science. Climate change exemplifies the tragedy of the commons with its delay discounting: rampant greenhouse gas emissions for short-term reinforcers, externalizing and delaying the mammoth aversive consequences. Similarly, "choice architecture" and other portions of behavioral economics - a significant part of the sustainability effort - are built on learning principles. In this symposium, we'll examine where our principles have successfully been incorporated - and where they are overlooked, misused, or ignored. Through more interdisciplinary collaboration, behavior analysis has the opportunity to build significantly on its existing contributions to the critical challenge of climate change mitigation.

Instruction Level: Basic
Target Audience:

Bachelor's or master's level

Behavior Analysis Principles in Mainstream Sustainability: Getting There (Slowly)
SUSAN M. SCHNEIDER (Root Solutions)
Abstract: Experts in mainstream sustainability and climate change initiatives obviously know something about incentive systems, and that means some familiarity with the rudiments of our field. However, the level of knowledge sometimes doesn’t go very far. Cognitive concepts have been incorporated more often than even basic behavioral functions like shaping and schedules of reinforcement. Other concepts like generalization have been renamed ("spillover"), with little recognition of the decades of solid research available under a different terminology. Even delay discounting, one of our more widely recognized contributions, gets mentioned through behavioral economics more often than through our research. One of the few behavior analysts who’s frequently cited in mainstream sustainability is Scott Geller, and he’s made the effort to be fully involved in mainstream conferences and journals. This presentation will summarize the progress of behavior analysis in mainstream sustainability, noting where we’ve succeeded and where we have a long way to go - and suggesting a few ways and means.

Bringing Behavior Analysis Principles to Energy and Transportation Research

(Applied Research)
ANGELA SANGUINETTI (University of California, Davis)

The speaker is a behavior analyst working as a research psychologist at the UC Davis Institute of Transportation Studies and Energy & Efficiency Institute. She will share her experience working on issues related to sustainability in an interdisciplinary research environment. In particular, she will discuss opportunities for (and progress toward) integrating behavior analysis principles in two areas of energy and transportation research: eco-feedback and eco-driving. Eco-feedback--providing people with information about their resource consumption with the aim of promoting sustainable behavior--is a strategy pioneered by behavior analysts in the late 70s-early 80s, but since then largely abandoned by behavior analysts and left to the more cognitive-oriented fields of environmental psychology and human-computer interaction. This talk will introduce a theory of eco-feedback that builds on behavior analysis principles and suggest opportunities for behavior analysts to get involved in eco-feedback research and initiatives. Another area discussed will be eco-driving--driver behaviors that increase vehicle fuel efficiency. This is an area of research that has been dominated by engineers and transportation researchers, with more attention to vehicle behavior than human behavior. Additional examples of integrating behavior analysis principles, theories, and methodologies will be reviewed briefly.


Interdisciplinary Sustainability at Fresno State

(Service Delivery)
CRISS WILHITE (California State University, Fresno), Beth Weinman (California State University, Fresno)

B. F. Skinner's 1981 Selection by Consequences was a call for us to use the science of behavior to meliorate world problems. With emerging research, models, and practices of the last 20 years, more behavior analysts are directing applied programs toward cultural problems such as poverty, education, organizational safety, and climate change. For five years, the work of interdisciplinary, cooperative groups at Fresno State has led to administrative support for an Institute of Water and Sustainability. The function of this institute is to coordinate research across colleges, ensure best practices on campus through Facilities, coordinate student and facility projects, develop a sustainability minor, and to educate and interact with the greater community. The use of behavior analytic principles is seen as integral to our work, has been well accepted by group members from a wide variety of backgrounds, and has enhanced our outcomes.




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