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 #544
Interventions in Cultural Phenomena: Metacontingencies With Altruistic Punishment, Common-Pool Resources and Endemic Disease
Monday, May 27, 2019
5:00 PM–5:50 PM
Swissôtel, Concourse Level, Zurich E-G
Area: EAB/CSS; Domain: Translational
Chair: Sigrid S. Glenn (University of North Texas)
Discussant: Maria E. Malott (Association for Behavior Analysis International)

This symposium presents three experiments that uses games in order to strengthen cultural practices and the transmission and recurrence of interlocking behavior contingencies and aggregated products. The first study investigated the effect of metacontingencies on altruistic punishment. Children in pairs should agree on punish distributions of tokens made by fictional characters. The results showed effects of individual and cultural consequences on altruistic behavior, and justice judgments. The second study investigated the effects of bonus and penalties on choices related to the use of common-pool resources in Commons Dilemma Game. The results suggest that penalties favor optimal consumption early in the game, while in control and bonuses conditions the participants adopted a competitive strategy. In the third study, the board game “Nossa Turma Contra a Dengue” (Our gangue against Dengue) was developed to strengthen verbal and nonverbal dengue prevention behaviors. The results indicate that the championship was effective in promoting dengue prevention behaviors.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): Games, Metacontingency, Positive Reinforce, Punishment

Altruistic Punishment and Metacontingency With Children

(Basic Research)
MARESSA PRISCILA NEGRÃO CARDOSO BRAGA (Universidade de Brasília ), Laércia Abreu Vasconcelos (Universidade de Brasília (UnB))

Altruistic Punishment is a social phenomenon that selects and maintains cooperation between genetically unrelated people in single interactions, therefore without possibility of reciprocity and minimal or absent reputation gains. Metacontingency is a unit of analysis of cultural phenomena, and describes a functional relationship between recurring interlocking behavioral contingencies resulting in an aggregate product and a selecting environment. This study aimed to investigate metacontingencies in the game of altruistic punishment with 20 pairs of children between 9 and 11, who evaluated fictional characters’ behaviors. Experimental design was ABCBAC, and communication was allowed during sessions. Conditions A were baseline. In Conditions B, points were given to the punishment of equal distributions between characters or non-punishment of unequal distributions. Conversely, in Conditions C, to the punishment of unequal distributions and non-punishment of equal ones. Verbal behaviors were recorded in order to identify accurate contingency descriptions and mythology. The main results indicated that accurate rules and communication contributed to the selection of distinct aggregated products in Conditions B and C. Moreover, some children refused to punish equal distributions.


Survival and Competition in the Commons Dilemma Game: Effects of Differential Consequences on Resource Allocation

(Basic Research)
JULIO CAMARGO (Federal University of São Carlos), Michael Young (Kansas State University), Julio C. De Rose (Universidade Federal de Sao Carlos)

Previous research using a video game preparation for investigating the effects of differential consequences on the use of common-pool resources revealed promising results. The game simulates an ocean fishery in which participants need to catch fish to stay “alive,” while it is necessary to save resources shared with two non-playable characters (NPCs). Participants who received extra points following moderate consumption (Bonuses condition) and participants who lost points following overconsumption (Penalties condition) needed fewer attempts than control participants to acquire optimal consumption strategies and complete the game successfully. For the present study, participants and NPCs could explicitly compete for the same resource, and participants were able to grab and release fish back into the ocean to avoid competitors’ responses. Participants were 78 college students, distributed in the same three conditions than previous research (i.e., Control, Bonuses, and Penalties). Unlike the previous study, results did not reveal a differential effect of the consequences on the number of attempts to complete the game. A detailed analysis showed that participants in Penalties conditions reached an optimal consumption early in the game, while participants in Control and Bonuses conditions readily adopted a competitive strategy, performing an increased rate of release responses.

Prevention of Dengue Fever: Effects of Participation in an Educational Game Championship
(Applied Research)
Aline Nascimento (Universidade Estadual de Londrina), Elizeu Batista Borloti (Universidade Federal do Espírito Santo - Brazil), VERONICA BENDER HAYDU (Universidade Estadual de Londrina)
Abstract: Dengue virus infection cases are a major concern in Brazil. Behavior analysis studies allow the establishment of strategies to teach behaviors to prevent dengue fever. This study aimed to evaluate the effects of the participation of students in a championship with the Nossa Turma Contra a Dengue board game (which teaches dengue prevention rules) on verbal and nonverbal dengue prevention behaviors. Sixteen students participated in the championship. Both before and after the board game, the participants individually carried out a Practical Evaluation Activity (preventive actions to control the proliferation of dengue), answered a questionnaire about the rules on the prevention of dengue fever, and played an adapted version of the Tapa Certo® game. After the championship, 12 of 16 participants increased their score in the Practical Evaluation Activity and 9 out of 16 increased their scores in the evaluation using the Tapa Certo® game. However only one participant increased their questionnaire score in relation to the Pre-Intervention Test, in which overall scores of the 16 participants were high (86%). We suggest that participation in the championship was effective in promoting dengue fever prevention behaviors.



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