The Effect of Providing Real-Time Feedback on Shower Duration and Water Usage Cherry Cheuk Man Chiu, email@example.com Department of Psychology, Bangor University
The principles of behaviour play an important role in addressing problems in society and there has been much research into the benefits of applied behaviour analysis (ABA). However, the principles can also be used to change other behaviours, such as those in the area of sustainability.
In response to the current drought across much of the United Kingdom, Thames water (2012) has issued a recommendation that showers should last for only four minutes. The same company issued the statistic that if every member of a family of four spent one minute less in the shower, 37,000 litres of water could be saved per year. The principles of behaviour can be used with this issue, in order to cut down on water consumption in households throughout the country.
Procedure • Baseline data was collected every other day over the course of two weeks. • A friend of the participant started and stopped the timer at the start and end of the shower. • From the antecedents of the baseline, it was clear that not knowing the time whilst showering may have been causing the participant to take longer than needed. • An appropriate antecedent intervention for this behaviour is the placement of a digital clock directly opposite the shower, where it is easily visible so as to deliver adequate real-time feedback. This was introduced after two weeks of baseline measurements and continued for the remainder of the experiment. The participant was required to consciously make herself aware of the clock. The formal timing continued independently of the intervention.
The promotion of widespread sustainable behaviour change, using only informational interventions, has proven to be a difficult task (Lucas, Brooks, Darnton & Jones, 2008). However, findings in the field of ABA suggest that the principles may be useful for promoting sustainable behaviour on a larger scale (Dwyer et al. 1993). Dwyer et al. (1993) reviewed 27 studies and concluded that the implementation of antecedent interventions was effective in modifying behaviour. In addition to this, Peterson, Shunturov, Janda, Platt and Weinberger (2007) found a significant reduction in the consumption of electricity in university halls when real-time resource feedback was provided. The researchers combined real-time feedback regarding resource consumption with education and incentive and found that this created interest, motivation and empowerment in the students, resulting in positive consumption changes. This study aimed to use a form of real-time feedback to reduce water consumption during showering, using time and minutes as the method of feedback. It was expected that there would be a positive behavioural change towards greater water preservation.
Method Participants • One undergraduate 21 year old psychology student, enrolled in the applied behavioural analysis module. • The experiment was carried out in the participant’s home. Materials • A stopwatch on a phone was used to measure the time spent in the shower. • A digital clock, showing hours, minutes and seconds, was displayed on an iPad. • ABC chart to record behaviours. Research design • AB design, self recorded over the course of six weeks. • Independent variable = the placement of a digital clock in the shower room, in a clearly visible place. • Dependent variable = measurement of time spent in the shower.
• It was expected that the display of real-time feedback would reduce the duration of each shower and thus reduce water consumption. The decrease in time shown in the results suggests that the intervention was a success, in that it reduced the mean time from 10:53 to 6:36. However, the goal of four minutes that had been recommended was not reached. • Interestingly, the shower time actually started decreasing before the intervention. This could be because simply being aware of the task was enough to make a small change, though it cannot be assumed that his change would have been sustained. This in itself supports the need for some kind of intervention and suggests that even good intentions can need support from external sources. • The fact that the goal of four minutes was not met, by no means suggests that the intervention was a failure. Behaviour change is a progressive process (Baer, Wolf & Risley, 1968) and it may be that six weeks was simply not enough time to reach the goal. Showering time may have followed the downward trend and eventually reached four minutes if enough time was allowed. • Although the study provided positive results, an interesting question is the lasting effect of the intervention. Will the participant continue to engage in water saving behaviours even after the termination of the antecedent intervention? Future research should carry out a follow up study to investigate the maintenance of behaviour change.
• The fact that the four-minute goal was not reached may warrant the coordination of this intervention with others. For example, it may be worth considering combining real-time feedback on shower duration (antecedent intervention) with another type of feedback, such as resource usage (consequence intervention), as done by Bittle, Valesano and Thaler (1979). The researchers found a significant reduction of consumption of electricity when daily feedback in terms of kilowatts was provided. The hope would be that effect of the interventions would be greater and faster.
• Another possible direction would be to elicit commitment statements from participants, as these have been shown to increase effect and longevity of behaviour change (Dwyer et al, 1993).
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Figure 1. Time spent in the shower over the course of six weeks • Figure 1 shows a progressive decrease of shower time over the duration of the experiment, although timings seem erratic, they do follow a overall downward trend. • A comparison of the baseline period (M= 10:53) and the intervention period (M= 6:36) showed a decrease of 4 minutes 17 seconds in the shower after the intervention was implemented. This supports the notion that the provision of realtime feedback is an effective intervention in reducing shower durations and water usage.
• This study shows that it is possible to use ABA to positively affect the energy consumption of a university student. The intervention used is cost effective and not time consuming. This intervention could potentially be implemented at any level of society and simply requires that the individual be aware of the behaviour that needs changing beforehand. • This intervention may need to be combined with education and information. There must also be some form of motivation to induce behaviour change in the first place, as it is unlikely that most people will actively search for ways to preserve water themselves. References Bittle, R. G., Valesano, R., & Thaler, G. (1979). The effects of daily cost feedback on residential electricity consumption. Behaviour Modification, 3, 187-189. doi: 10.1177/014544557932004 Lucas, K., Brooks, M., Darnton, A., & Jones, J. E. (2008). Promoting pro-environmental behaviour: existing evidence and policy implications. Environmental Science & Policy, 11, 456-466. Dwyer, W. O., Leeming, F. C., Cobern, M. K., Porter, B. E., & Jackson, J. M. (1993). Critical review of behavioural interventions to preserve the environment. Environmental and Behaviour, 25, 275-321. Petersen, J. E., Shunturov, V., Janda, K., Platt, G., & Weinberger, K. (2007). Dormitory residents reduce electricity consumption when exposed to real-time visual feedback and incentives. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, 8(1),16–33. Baer, D. M., Wolf, M. M., & Risley, T. (1968). Some current dimensions of applied behaviour analysis, Journal of Applied Behaviour Analysis, 1, 91-97. Thames Water. (2012). Saving water and money. Retrieved March 27, 2012, from http://www.thameswater.co.uk/cps/rde/xchg/corp/ hs.xsl/3784.htm
Investigating effects of a behavioural intervention on the use of an elevator in the work place. Jade Scurr Bangor University
The chosen area of sustainability for this behaviour change project is energy consumption, more specifically the energy consumption of an elevator.
Participant – The participant is a 20 year old female who is currently in the 3rd year of a Psychology degree at Bangor University. The participant works locally in a large chain fashion store.
The baseline data shows that the participant was omitting a high number of the incorrect behaviour and few correct behaviours. The table below shows the total number of incorrect and correct behaviours during the 6 week data collection.
The sustainability of our living is becoming an increasing concern throughout the world, as it is resulting in global warming and climate change (Perez-Lombard, Ortiz & Pout, 2007). Research shows that in 2009, 210.8 tones of oil equivalent of energy was consumed within the UK alone. (ONS, 2011). During a year long period a total saving of £280 and 1.1 tonnes of carbon dioxide can be saved if individuals behaved in an energy efficient manner (Energy Saving Trust, 2012). This could be achieved by reducing usage of non-essential items that consume a large amount of energy, such as elevators. Houten, Nau and Merrigan (1981) state that elevators consume a large amount of energy, there original use was for people with a disability however, increasingly more people who do not necessarily need to use an elevator do. They found that by increasing the delay of the elevator doors opening significantly reduced the number of people using the elevator. The aim of this project is to formulate an intervention that will reduce incorrect energy consuming behaviours and increase the frequency of energy efficient behaviours within a work environment. The correct behaviour can be defined as using the stairs to commute between the ground floor and first floor. The incorrect behaviour is defined as using the lift to commute between the first floor and ground floor.
Hypothesis Incorrect behaviours will reduce after the intervention has been implemented. Frequency of correct behaviours will increase after main phase of intervention.
Setting – Data will be collected at the participants work place, New Look. The store consists of a ground floor and a first floor with one elevator that connects the two floors. Design – The design of the study will be a single case AB design. Measure – The number of uses of the lift will be recorded across a week long period. During a week a participant works 4 shifts this is a total of 16 hours spent in the work place. Correct and incorrect behaviours will be recorded using an ABC chart. Antecedents, the behaviour omitted and the consequence of the behaviour will also be recorded on the chart. Once baseline data has been recorded it will be analysed and an effective intervention will be formulated. Procedure – Baseline data was recorded for a total of 2 weeks. Intervention data was also recorded for 4 weeks. after the initial 4 weeks baseline data was analysed and found that the most common use of the elevator was that it was quicker than taking the stairs. The intervention intends to encourage the participant to use the stairs therefore a poster, containing statistics of how much energy the elevator uses and how many calories can be burned using the stairs, will be displayed on the ground floor lift door and the first floor lift door to discourage the use of the lift.
Week 3, week 1 of the intervention, shows that the correct behaviours start to increase and the incorrect behaviours have vastly decreased when compared with week 2.
Week 4 shows the largest increase in correct behaviours. Incorrect behaviours have decreased slightly. Week 5 data shows the large decline in the incorrect behaviour. Correct behaviour has slightly decreased however the total number of behaviours is less than week 4. There were no incorrect behaviours in week 6 and a high amount of the correct behaviour. The graph below shows the total correct behaviours.
Conclusions It was originally hypothesised that the intervention would reduce the frequency of incorrect behaviours and increase frequency of correct behaviour. The results show that the poster intervention was successful in changing the participants behaviour. The results of the study support the results of Houten et al. (1981) that state a behavioural intervention will reduce the use of an elevator. It would be interesting to view the company electricity bill to analyses whether the intervention has decreased the electricity costs. If the electricity cost decreased by one member of staff engaging in an intervention to promote energy efficient behaviour, a further project could assess the effectiveness of the all staff participating in the intervention. The company would be benefitting from reduced costs and the environment would benefit as energy consumption would also decrease. In order to assess the effectiveness of the intervention a follow up study could be conducted to analyse whether the results produced by the intervention was sustainable over time. In conclusion the use of a behavioural intervention, based on the principles of applied behaviour analysis is very effective at increasing desired energy efficient behaviour. It is essential that energy efficient behaviours are increased to reduce future damage to the environment as mention in Perez-Lombard et al. (2007).
References Houten, R. V., Nau, P. A., & Merrigan, M. (1981). Reducing elevator energy use: A comparison of posted feedback and reduced elevator convenience. Journal of AppliedBehavioural Analysis, 14(4), 377-387. Doi:10.1901/jaba.1981.14-377 Office of National Statistics. (2011, April 1). Energy consumption and gross domestic product. Retrieved from: http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/environmental/environmental-accounts/2011/energy-consumption.htm Energy Saving Trust, (2012, March 27). Savings and statistics for Great Britain –media factsheet 2011-2012. Retrieved from: http://www.energysavingtrust.org.uk/Publications2/Corporate/Research-and-insights/Savings-andstatistics-for-Great-Britain-media-factsheet-2011-2012 Perez- Lombard, L., Ortiz, J., & Pout, C. (2007). A review on buildings energy consumption information. Energy and Buildings, 40 (3), 394-398 doi:10.1016j.enbuild.2007.03.007
On average, a household each day uses between 66 and 118 gallons of water per person (Harris & Bev, 2002). Water consumption can be effectively reduced by simply becoming aware of personal water habits, which will help reduce the amount of water wasted and household energy costs. However, households face a major problem as currently apart from receiving energy bills, there is no itemised feedback provided to allow each household to monitor their personal water habits, and so causes a detachment from their behaviours and the water they use, (Stern & Aronson, 1984). Brandon and Lewis (1999) found that providing visual feedback on water habits reduced consumption significantly. A daily behaviour that occurs in each household that ultimately results in water waste is showering, and Dickerson, Thibodeau, Aronson and Miller (1992) found that people had shorter showers when feedback was provided on water wasted during each shower. Previous research therefore suggests that some form of feedback should be given within the intervention stage of this behaviour project to provide a change in water consumption. Feedback will be used within this behaviour project, and will be present in two forms; firstly, by self-monitoring the time taken to shower daily and secondly, during the intervention period a beep noise made by the timer will be heard after four minutes of showering.
Hypothesis The time taken to shower will be effectively reduced to less than five minutes when the behaviour is monitored and visual and auditory feedback is provided.
Participants One participant (aged 21; female; third year student at Bangor University partaking in ABA module; lives in a student shared house) was tested throughout this behaviour change project. Setting The study was conducted at the participantâ€™s home (6 bedroom shared student house). The behaviour change project was specifically conducted within the bathroom. Design This study used a single case AB design, which consisted of a two week baseline period and a four weeks intervention period. Measure The dependent variable was the time (minutes) it took for the participant to shower on a daily basis. The independent variable was the feedback given during baseline and intervention. ABC charts were used to record all showering times (minutes) across baseline and intervention periods., which recorded the antecedents, and consequences of every shower to allow further information to be provided for the intervention period. In addition, approximate times of the day were noted of when the participant showered to provide further information for intervention. Categories for approximate times of the day included: Morning (8-11.59am), Afternoon (123.59pm) and Evening (4-11pm). Procedure In the baseline stage , the time to taken to shower was measured through using a timer. The timer was activated when the participant began to shower and deactivated when the participant finished showering. From looking at the timer the participant was given feedback on the time it took to shower . In the intervention stage, the timer was again used to record the time taken to shower and produce a beep noise after four minutes to signal to the participant that there was one minute left before they exceeded the target shower time of five minutes or less.
Results Figure 1 illustrates that the time taken to shower is longer during the baseline period compared to the intervention period. The occurrence of incorrect behaviours (showers taking more than five minutes) are more prevalent during the baseline than the intervention period, and the occurrence of correct behaviours (showers lasting five or less minutes) are more prevalent in the intervention period than the baseline period. The mean time taken to shower in the baseline period was 9.40 minutes, and the mean time taken to shower in the intervention period was 5.14 minutes. 18
Time Taken to Shower (min)
Globally water has been made readily available, however, due to rising energy demands and increases in energy costs this situation is rapidly changing, (Chetty, Gran & Grinter, 2008).
14 12 10 8 6 4 2 0
1 3 5 7 9 11 13 15 17 19 21 23 25 27 29 31 33 35 37 39 41 43 Day
Figure 1. Time taken to shower (minutes) across a two week baseline period and four week intervention period.
Table 1 illustrates that during the baseline stage the number of incorrect behaviours occurred more in the morning than during the afternoon or evening. During the intervention stage the number of incorrect behaviours occurred equally in the morning and evening. Correct behaviours in both the baseline and intervention stage occurred during morning showers. Table 1. Time of day that each shower occurred with correct and incorrect behaviours presented. Baseline
Time of Day Correct Incorrect Correct Incorrect (Shower) Behaviour Behaviour Behaviour Behaviour
The results from Figure 1 support the hypothesis, as they suggest that when visual and auditory feedback was introduced during the intervention period incorrect behaviours reduced and correct behaviours increased. Results from Table 1 illustrate that during the baseline stage the number of incorrect showers occurred mostly in the morning, which suggests that the intervention should aim to reduce shower times predominantly at this time of day. During the intervention period, the number of incorrect behaviours declined during morning and afternoon showers, however, they increased during evening showers. However, the intervention was successful in increasing correct behaviours across all times of the day, especially morning showers. Furthermore, the mean time taken to shower is reduced to 5.14 minutes from 9.40 minutes in the baseline period. This suggests that the use of feedback successfully reduced the time taken to shower, and therefore, this research can be seen to support Dickerson et al. (1992) findings that suggested feedback significantly reduced water consumption. Stern and Aronson (1984) suggested that a personal detachment towards water consumption was due to no itemised feedback being available. This problem to an extent has been addressed as the timer provided a measurement of water use (time taken to shower) which provided the participant with daily itemised feedback of the time it took to shower. Within this behaviour change project it is difficult to determine which type of feedback effectively reduced the time taken to shower. As during the intervention period both types of feedback were introduced collectively. Future projects may consider focusing on whether it is visual or auditory feedback which decreases the time taken to shower, as during the intervention period this project combined both types of feedback, rather than introducing them separately. This research provides further knowledge of how feedback can reduce the amount of water used when showering. Also, this research may help to reduce water consumption in other household activities such as dishwashing and gardening.
References Brandon, G., & Lewis, A. (1999). Reducing household energy consumption: A qualitative and quantitative field study. Journal of Environmental Psychology,19, 75-85. Retrieved from http://www.applied powerinnovations.com/documents/ brandon Chetty, M., Tran, D., & Grinter, R. E. (2008). Getting to green: Understanding resource consumption in the home. Proceeding UbiComp â€™08 Proceedings of the 10th International Conference on Ubiquitous Computing. Retrieved from http://dl.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=1409668 Dickerson, C. A., Thibodeau, R., Aronson, E., & Miller, D. (1992). Using cognitive dissonance to encourage water conservation. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 22(11), 841-854. doi: 10.1111/j.15591816.1992.tb00928.x Harris, J. L., & Kellner, B. (2010). Water conservation checklist for the home. Family and Consumer Sciences. Retrieved from http://fcs.tamu.edu/housing/efficient_housing/water_management/water_ conservation_checklist/index.php Stern, P. C., & Aronson, E. (Eds.). (1984). Energy use: The human dimension. New York: W.H. Freeman and Company.
ALTERNATIVE DRYING METHODS & ENERGY CONSUMPTION Kimberley Shakespeare Bangor University Psychology Department
According to carbonfootprint.com, the average tumble dryer costs £37.00 per year to operate and produces 159kg C02 per year (based on 148 uses per year). By cutting down the use of a tumble drier and using a clothes horse or outside line would therefore not only save money but also reduce the amount of C02 level emitted from a household. In order to successfully cut down household C02 levels, consumers must know how much energy the are consuming and the most effective way to do this is by giving them regular feedback of energy consumption with appliance-specific breakdown (Fischer, 2008) and is essential to maximise energy saving potential (Wood & Newborough, 2002). By reducing the use of the tumble drier on a daily base and using alternative drying methods and monitoring the weekly Kwh consumed in the household to receive regular feedback, it expected that the energy consumed will decrease and the behaviour will be reinforced by saving money on the electricity bill.
Participants The participant was a 28 year old female 3rd year undergraduate at Bangor University. She lived in private rented accommodation with her husband and two young children. Setting The research was carried out in a 3 bedroom detached bungalow which had a tumble drier, a clothes horse and an outside washing line. The number of batches of laundry done was between 8 and 10 per week. The tumble drier was an A rated appliance, which used approximately 2Kwh in electricity per load at a cost of £0.28. Design Single case AB design. Measure The number of times the tumble drier was used to dry clothing on a daily basis. These responses were recorded on an ABC chart with both the antecedents and consequences also recorded. A weekly reading of the Kwh consumed within the home was also recorded to measure how the decreased use of the tumble drier affected not only the energy consumed but also the monthly spend on electricity. Procedure Baseline measurements (A) were taken for 14 consecutive days followed by an intervention on day 15, with a further 14 days of intervention measurements (B). Baseline data showed that although correct behaviour was displayed, it was infrequent and sporadic and was often as a result of a backlog of laundry. An intervention was designed on the baseline data with the aim to remind the participant to do at least one batch of laundry per day so that the laundry didn't pile up. This was done in the form of a daily chore chart which included washing, drying and folding laundry on a daily basis. The chore chart was large and was displayed in the kitchen where it was highly visible. Every night the chore chart was consulted to tick off the chores that were done.
DISCUSSION The implemented intervention was highly successful in that it reduced the number of uses of the tumble drier to zero on a number of days and reduced weekly Kwh used which supports the initial hypothesis. ●Implications of the study are that by making simple changes to the daily use of electrical home appliances can make a difference to the amount of energy consumed within a household. Although this study looked at use of the tumble drier, the results are applicable to washing machines, dishwashers and microwaves. ●The cost of the intervention was minimal and not time consuming and could therefore lead to it being implemented to reduce the use of electricity with other appliances. Although the amount saved per week was small, if this was applied to other appliances, the amount saved on the electricity would multiply and make a significant reduction in money spent per month. ●Perhaps the successfulness of the intervention could be partly due to the fact that the weather was particularly warm and dry during the measurement of the intervention data and therefore it was more likely that clothes would be hung out to dry in any case. ●A limitation of this AB design is that there is no data to show what would happen if the intervention was removed. Would the participant continue to use alternative drying methods if the continuous reminder was not there? If they did this would be evidence to support the notion that a behaviour change had occurred. ●
Number of responses
Boden, Marland & Andres (2009) estimated that humans emit eight billion metric tons of carbon in to the atmosphere in a single year. Thompson (2010) suggests that in order to reduce the amount of C02 produced we, as a society, must fix the underlying causes of C02 emission in order to deal with global warming. For example, using energy efficient light bulbs, insulating our homes and cutting down the use of electronic appliances such as microwaves, tumble driers and kettles.
Day Figure 1. Number of times the tumble drier was used, per day, before and after intervention was introduced.
Initial baseline data shows a trend of regular use, sometimes multiple times a day, of the tumble drier. The implication being that minimal use was made of alternative drying methods. At day 16 following the implementation of the intervention, a drastic change is seen in both the number of batches of laundry done per day but also in the drying method. Use of the tumble drier fell significantly and remained low, only rising briefly (see Figure 1). Table 1 Kwh used per week by household and cost of tumble drier
Cost of running tumble drier (£)
A decrease in Kwh's used per week can be seen following the implementation of the intervention as well as the amount of money spent on running the tumble drier.
REFERENCES Boden, T. A., Marland, G., & Andres, R. J.(2009). Global, regional, and national fossil fuel CO2 emissions. Oak Ridge, TN: Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, U.S. Department of Energy. Retrieved from http://cdiac.ornl.gov/trends/emis/tre_glob.html Fischer, C. (2008). Feedback on household electricity consumption: a tool for saving energy? Energy Efficiency 1(1), 79-104. doi: 10.1007/s12053-0089009-7 Thompson, L.G. (2010). Climate change: The evidence and our options. The Behaviour Analyst, 33(2), 153-170. Wood, G., & Newborough, M. (2002). Dynamic energy-consumption indicators for domestic appliances: environment, behaviour and design. Energy and Buildings, 35(8), 821-842. doi: 10.1016/S0378-7788(02)00241-4.
Behaviour Change Project– Who left the lights on? Lowri Wyn Rowlands Bangor University, Wales
Hypothesis •The aim of the current research is to reduce the amount of unnecessary light bulbs switched on in the home. •A sign placed above lights in the house will serve as reminders for the participant to turn lights off. •This will reduce the number of unnecessary lights on in the house.
Participants The participant (myself) used in this study was female, twenty one years of age and a Year Three undergraduate completing this research as part of their Year Three Applied Behaviour Analysis Project. Setting The research was conducted in a seven bedroom household with a maximum of 12 lights used by the participant: one in each of the three bathrooms, one in the kitchen, and one in the lounge; there were also five lights in the hallway and two in the participant’s bedroom. Design The design used was a single case A-B design. The research measured the baseline data of the participant (A) and as a result implemented a suitable intervention and measured the resulting data during the intervention (B).
Unnecessary Lights On
•Sustainability is the capacity to endure 1. •Households use a large amount of fossil fuel and this energy use has increased, resulting in a enlarged contribution to global sustainability problems 2. •Incandescent lighting or light bulbs are the most common household lighting 3. •There are three types of incandescent lighting 3. • These are standard incandescent lamps, energysaving incandescent lamps and reflector lamps 3. • Research compared incandescent, compact fluorescent and Light Emitting Diodes lighting 4. •Overall, incandescent lighting is the least sustainable household lighting 4. •Light bulbs are the cheapest lighting to buy but they are the least efficient and have a short lifespan 3. •However, as a light bulb is cheap this makes it a good option for students. •90% of light bulb energy is converted to heat and the other 10% of energy is used to produce light 3. •Turning lights off therefore makes a room cooler 3. •Having these lights switched off saves more money than having to replace a bulb3! •Research has been conducted where signs were put near the doorways stating who had to turn the light off and when 5. •For example, whoever left the room last 5. •This caused a 60% reduction in lights being left on than having a sign about energy saving 5.
11 am –Results
Method 6 5 4 3 2 1 0 1
11 13 15 17 19 21 23 25 27 29 31 33 35 37 39 41 43 45 47 49
• The figure demonstrates the number of unnecessary lights left on during the baseline and intervention session at 11am. •The number of unnecessary light on reduced after introducing the intervention.
7pm- Results 9 8
Measure Recordings were taken during the period 11 am to 7 pm to measure how many lights were left on in the house during these times. The recordings were kept consistent for the duration of the study. Recordings were on an ABC chart as x/12 lights. Antecedents and consequences were also recorded. Individual lights were recorded in categories on the ABC chart: “unnecessary” recorded a light on that could be off, “off” was recorded if the light was off, and “light in use” if the lights that were on were needed. Procedure Baseline Baseline data was taken for three weeks (A). The data indicated that lights were left on because of the participant forgetting to turn off the lights. Intervention The intervention aimed to target the behaviour witnessed in the baseline data. During the intervention, 12 similar small bright signs saying “Turn me off!!” were placed above all light switches used by the participant in the house. The sign design was bright and colourful to capture the participant’s attention. This intervention occurred for a total of four weeks (B).
Unnecessary Lights On
7 6 5 4 3 2 1 0 1
11 13 15 17 19 21 23 25 27 29 31 33 35 37 39 41 43 45 47 49
• The figure demonstrates the number of unnecessary lights left on during the baseline and intervention sessions at 7pm. •The number of unnecessary light on reduced after introducing the intervention.
TURN ME OFF!!
•The results are consistent with the hypothesis. •Unnecessary lights left on were reduced after introducing the intervention. •The results are similar to that of research by Winnet, Kagel, Battalio and Winkler (1978, ac cited in Froehlich, 2009, p.1) as discussed in the introduction. •The results are interesting as a total reduction of unnecessary lights to zero was not achieved. •A possible limitation beyond the control of the research is that other housemates contributed to the amount of unnecessary lights left on. •It would therefore be suggestible that it is impossible to get a total reduction of unnecessary lights on in this household to constant zero in this research. •It was not recorded how many housemates were present in the house during recording sessions, which could have had an affect on the results. •Another possible limitation beyond control of the research is the changes in weather and seasons. •A participant based limitation is that perhaps the participant began to ignore the sign. •In future research, perhaps it would be suggested that four different signs were designed and one design used only for one week. •This would create variability and reduce the possibility of the sign blending into the participant’s environment. •Possible future research could implement an ABA design to see if the intervention was successful without the signs. •An implication of this research was the reduced cost of having less unnecessary lights on. •The participant also felt better about herself for leaving less unnecessary light on. •Other possible future research could also introduce this intervention into the whole household and see if this reduced the overall amount of unnecessary lights on to zero.
2. 3. 4.
Attari, S.K., DeKay, M.L., Davidson, C.I., & Bruine de Bruin, W. (2010, September).Public perceptions of energy consumption and savings. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science of the United States of America,104, 16054-16059. Retrieved from http://www.pnas.org/content/107/37/16054.full Poortinga, W., Steg, L., & Vlek, C. (2004). Values, Environmental Concern, and Environmental Behavior : A Study into Household Energy Use. Environment and Behavior, 36, 70-93. doi:10.1177/0013916503251466. U.S. Department of Energy. (2012,March). Incandescent Lighting. Energy Savers. Retrieved from http://www.energysavers.gov/your_ home/lighting_daylighting/index.cfm/mytopic=12120 Chow, J., Lee, T-Y., Risi, S., & Zhong, X. (2009, November). Investigation into sustainable light bulbs. UBC Social, Ecological Economic DevelopmentStudies (SEEDS) Student Reports. Retrieved from https://circle.ubc.ca/bitstream/handle/2429/30085/Light%25 20Bulb%2520Sustainability%2520Project%28clean%29%2520FINAL.pdf?sequence=1 Winett, R.A., J.H. Kagel, R.C. Battalio, and R.C. Winkler. (1978). Effects of monetary rebates, feedback,and information on residential electricity conservation. Journal of Applied Psychology, 63, 73-80. Froehlich, J. (2009). Promoting Energy Efficient Behaviors in the Home through Feedback: The Role of Human-Computer Interaction. Computing System, 9. Retrieved from ftp://ftp.cs.washington.edu/tr/2009/02/UW-CSE-09-02-01.PDF
Increasing the Use of Sustainable Transport Using Applied Behavioural Analysis Research Conducted and Presented by Michael J. Emptage School of Psychology, Bangor University, UK.
Why Change to Sustainable Transport
•Society is defined by advancements in technology, the car is the epitome of this development.
•Home journeys began in Rhyl, North Wales and it can be assumed, unless stated that all journeys begin and terminate there. •All public transport journeys begin within walking distance from home, however, walking and waiting time is factored into the journey time. •Car sharing will be from home and not from the origin of the journey.
•Over the study period, the average mileage per week was 380 miles. During the baseline period between weeks 1-3, the mean was 400 miles per week, and for the behaviour change period, it was 360 miles per week (Figure 2).
•To reduce car usage, sustainable transport must either: •Be made more accessible and attractive, or, •Car usage must become less attractive through increases in fuel duty and congestion charges.
•Taylor (2011) suggested the following sustainable transport solutions to reduce car use: •Walking •Riding a bicycle •Public transport •Carpooling or car sharing •Moving closer to work/school •Reducing multiple trips •Planning ahead
•By using applied behavioural analysis (ABA), a change in mindset may be adopted, leading to an increase in behaviour that embraces more sustainable transport alternatives, and a decrease in personal car use. •The ABA process examines the antecedent, leading to a behaviour, keeping in mind the consequences of that behaviour, therefore allowing for a generalisable and sustainable change in travel habits to be made.
Method Participants •The a record of the researchers personal transport habits were used in this study, therefore eliminating the need for ethical approval and prior consent. •All car journeys to and from the home were recorded as single occurrences, with sustainable transport alternatives recorded from home or a close proximity to home. •The personal impact from all occurrences are assessed based on cost, time, comfort and physical effort expended.
•A single case study, AB design is used to analyse the differences between the baseline period of behaviour, and the behaviour change period.
Figure 2. Distance covered over the study period 600
Materials and Procedures
•Occurrences are defined as any journey using the car, or any sustainable alternatives. • A baseline period is monitored in terms of the number of occurrences per week between weeks 1-3 of the trial. •The behaviour modification period is monitored in terms of occurrences between weeks 4-6. •Mileage is recorded on a Sunday at the beginning of each week, when the car is refuelled to maximum allowing for an analysis of fuel consumption and efficiency. •Sustainable alternatives are assessed both by direct cost, and indirect cost, such as time, effort and comfort.
Distance in Miles
•Lack of motivation •Time constraints •Lack of accessibility to sustainable transport alternatives.
•In the baseline period, 100% of the mileage travelled was by car only. •In the intervention period journeys were taken by: •Car only 30.67% •Car sharing 42.26% •Train 14.09% •Cycling 12.98%
•The number of journeys taken in weeks 1-3 (baseline period) ranged from 8-10 occurrences per week (µ = 9.67), compared to 8-10 occurrences per week (µ = 9.33) in weeks 4-6 (behaviour modification period), (Figure 1).
Car only 0
6 4 2 0
400 300 200
Figure 2. Graph showing the distance covered each weeks in miles.
•The cost of using the car during the baseline averaged out at £70.83 per week (Figure 3). •Over the intervention period, all costs combined averaged out at £54.38 per week. Figure 3. Cost incurred over the study period
Figure 1. Journeys taken over the study period 12
Cost of travel
Number of Journeys
Cost in £
•Mackett (2009) examined the difficulties presented by reducing car usage, such as:
Number of Occurances
•The consumption of fossil fuel globally is growing exponentially, causing unquantifiable damage to the planet due to climate change (Houghton, 2007).
100 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0
Figure 1. Graph showing the number of journeys taken by car and by sustainable alternatives during the 6 week period .
•It may therefore be concluded, that with better planning and a positive attitude, the use of a car, solely for personal use, can be substituted for more sustainable alternatives, such as car sharing, taking the train, and to a degree, cycling. The benefits are ecological, financial and personal, reducing the impact on the planet and improving fitness and well being.
69.50 51.88 45.13
Intervention Week number
•In an analysis of the journeys taken over the intervention period, the number of occurrences stayed between 8-10 per week, showing that there was no reduction from the baseline. •Personal car journeys reduced from between 9-10 per week over the first 3 weeks, to 1-3 per week over the behaviour change period. •An average of 7 journeys per week used sustainable transport during the intervention period. This was made up of car sharing, train and cycling. •The cost per week of transport dropped from an average of £70.83 to £54.38, a saving of £16.45. Over a year, that could equate to £855.40. •By using ABA it was possible to quantify, over the baseline period, the level of opportunities for a change in behaviour, resulting in a direct reduction in cost, and an indirect saving in the consumption of fossil fuels. •It was found that the some of the sustainable alternatives, such as car sharing and the train, took little, or no extra time or effort to carry out, only good planning. •However, there was a substantial amount of effort required to maintain one particular sustainable alternative, and that was cycling to work. This may be hard to maintain, especially through the winter. It also reduced the desire to cycle for pleasure. •Various programs are underway to facilitate the change to sustainable transport. •Organisations such as Sustrans (2010) spearhead an integrated transport solution that links public transport with cycle networks and walking paths. •Sustrans believes in being: •A catalyst, making sustainable transport possible •A campaigner, making it desirable, and, •An influencer, making it inevitable.
Figure 3. Graph showing the cost per week of all travelling expenses, including fuel, shared fuel and train costs.
Houghton, D. D. (2007, March 15). Global climate change: Basics, challenges, and international impact, Atmospheric & Oceanic Sciences. Madison, WI. Retrieved from, www.rc.swls.org/www.old/talks/climatechange2007.pdf. Mackett, R. L. (2009). Why is it so difficult to reduce car use? Centre for Transport Studies. London: University College London. Sustrans (2010). Solutions for life. Annual review, Retrieved from, www.sustrans.arg.uk. Taylor, C (2011). How to reduce car use. Retrieved from, www.ehow.com.
Promoting Recycling Behaviour: The Role of Applied Behavioural Analysis Megan Whittaker Bangor University Abstract
The efficacy of using applied behavioural analysis to
The experiment used a single case AB design,
• There was an increase in the percentage of recyclable items placed in recycling bin from 48.1% (M = 1) at baseline
increase rate of recycling is examined. A single case AB
examining the recycling behaviour of a 20 year old
to 93.9% (M = 2.19) during the intervention.
design which employed a 20 year old female was used. The
female. The experiment was conducted in a three
• There was a decrease in the percentage of recyclable items placed in waste bin from 51.9% (M = 1.08) at baseline
intervention consisted of an antecedent environmental
storey shared house which had a general waste bin
to 6.1% (M = 0.14) during the intervention.
alteration to increase convenience of recycling. Results
(L28cm x W25cm x H42cm) and recycling bin
indicated an improvement in recycling behaviour during the
(L45cm x W30cm x H20cm) in the kitchen on the
intervention, thus implying a minor alteration to augment
ground floor, and a general waste bin (L35cm x
convenience increases proenvironmental behaviour.
W18cm x H35cm) in the participant’s room on the
Introduction sustainability. This experiment investigates the use of behavioural
Recyclable items placed in general waste bins were
A current target at Bangor University is to develop
Number of items
second floor. The number of items eligible for
behaviour. Austin, Hatfield, Grindle, and Bailey (1993)
conducted research based in two academic departments of a university. Signs were placed above both general waste and recycling bins to prompt effective recycling.
found that the closer the proximity of the sign the greater the recycling, with one department yielding a 54% improvement over baseline. Such findings are supported by Ludwig, Gray, and Rowell (1998) who found that the percentage of cans recycled increased by 23% and 36% respectively when recycling bins were moved in closer proximity to the participants. Similar findings have been portrayed in other settings such as offices (Brothers, Krantz, & McClannahan,1994) and within the community (Read, 1999). It is hypothesised that an antecedent intervention, in which an environmental alteration is made
recorded as incorrect behaviour, those placed in the
recycling bin were recorded as correct behaviours. The baseline phase was conducted for 13 days with
measures taken once a day at 8pm. An ABC diary
10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 Days
was kept by the participant and examination of
Figure 1. The number of recyclable items recorded per 24 hours period in the house. Open circles represent recyclable items counted
baseline data cited inconvenience as the main cause
in recycling bin and filled circles represent recyclable items counted in general waste. Vertical dashed line represents phase change.
for non recycling behaviour. Therefore an antecedent intervention presenting an environmental alteration
was conducted. This involved placing a recycling bin (L35cm x W18cm x H35cm) in the participant’s
• Results were consistent with the hypothesis, as there was an increase in the percentage of recyclable items
room, thus providing ease of recycling through
placed in recycling bin from baseline to intervention with the execution of an antecedent environmental intervention.
increased proximity. The recycling bin also provided
• Findings therefore support past research indicating convenience is key to recycling behaviour (Austin, Hatfield,
Grindle, & Bailey, 1993; Brothers, Krantz, & McClannahan,1994; Ludwig, Gray, & Rowell 1998; Read, 1999).
proenvironmental behaviour. The intervention phase
• An AB design is limited, however the use of an ABA design would have enhanced the experiment by providing a
was conducted for 21 days with measures being
more reliable assessment of intervention effect.
taken once a day at 8pm. Correct and incorrect
• This experiment identified that a minor alteration to the environment can lead to significantly increased recycling
behaviours were recorded and an ABC diary
behaviour. Placing a recycling bin in close proximity to each general waste bin is a cost effective method of
continued to be kept.
promoting proenvironmental behaviour.
to increase opportunity and convenience to recycle, will increase recycling behaviour.
References Austin, J., Hatfield, D.B., Grindle, A.C., & Bailey, J.S. (1993). Increasing recycling in office environments: The effects of specific, informative cues. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 26(2), 247-253. Brothers, K.J., Krantz, P.J., & McClannahan, L.E. (1994). Office paper recycling: a function of container proximity. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis ,27(1), 153-160. Dwyer, W.O., & Leeming, F.C. (1993). Critical review of behavioural interventions to preserve the environment: research since 1980. Environment and Behavior, 25(3), 275-321. Ludwig, T.D., Gray, T.W., & Rowell, A. (1998). Increasing recycling in academic buildings: A systematic replication. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 31(4), 683–686.
The effects of self imposed limitation on the reduction of excessive electricity usage.
Electricity consumption is exceptionally high in the developed world and is largely produced by coalpowered station and although accurate figures are difficult to find it is clear that coal fired plants impacts the climate significantly (Coal and Climate Change Facts, 2012) some work has been done in this area (Peterson, et al., 2007) though much is still to be learned. What is known, however, is that reducing consumption without viable alternatives will be tricky and most likely require the reinforcement of incompatible behaviour, such as game playing, walking, “family time” or some alternative pleasant activity. This research focuses on the reduction of electricity consumption by reinforcing the limited use of certain high energy consumption gadgets with an item from the supermarket that the participant would like but never buys.
A pre-imposed time limit on the use of two pre-selected, high consumption appliances will significantly reduce the time spent each day using said devices, which will in-turn reduce electricity consumption over the intervention period.
Participant The participant was a 21-year-old male at Bangor University, studying the ABA module.
During the intervention the time usage dropped significantly and immediately. The participant reported a desire to engage in alternative behaviours such as taking walks and reading however also reported that more time would have been preferable (for example more time to watch a long film plus a show). It can be extrapolated that, based on ABC journal reports and the general trend evident in the graph that usage time will remain lower than the initial baseline.
Setting The research was conducted in a shared house, although this won’t affect the experimental condition. Design The experiment is a single-case AB design behavioural intervention Measure The goal is to reduce total time spent using high-energy appliances around the home, for the sake of the experiment these appliances were limited to two and the participant’s total usage (in mins) of domestic appliances (Laptop for recreation and TV) was recorded for one weeks with Antecedents and Consequences also recorded to aid the intervention Procedure One week of baseline data (A) and two weeks of intervention data (B) were recorded. The researcher decided a self-imposed time limit was the ideal intervention because the baseline data indicated a high timeusage, and so a time-limit was set at a relatively low 90 minutes.
700 600 500 400 300 200 100 0
Dates on Intervention
Pre-Intervention 350 300 Time in Minutes
Sustainability is a major issue; the necessity for a reduction in irreversible consumption is inarguable (Stern, 2007). Change on a macro-level is difficult and has so far meant governments (both local and national) resorting to punitive and restrictive measures (for example; Radio86, 2011), punishment however, doesn’t work (Skinner, 1988) so an alternative, namely reinforcement, is necessary.
Philip Nelson, Bangor University, Bangor, Gwynedd.
Time In Minutes
250 200 150 100
Reducing the unnecessary use of high-consumption appliances is laudable, but as previously stated difficult to attain. This study aimed to limit the use of two such high-consumption devices to first reduce electricity usage, and second give rise to alternative, low- or nil consumption activities in lieu of typically automatic behavioural patterns that require high-powered devices. The results showed a significant drop off of the usage of the two high consumption devices outlined for the study. Whilst a powerful effect is obviously notable, there wasn’t enough time to test if the behavioural repertoire had stuck. Past research is somewhat lacking in the area of electricity consumption as a function of behaviour but the current experiment serves as a beginning look at how we can change patterns of behaviour related to consumption. Consider, for example, one of the alternative behaviours that was reported in the ABC journal; taking a walk. Walking is something we are urged to do more of but rarely find time to do, and has the added bonus of being healthy for us. Although the participant was not doing what they would normally do to appease their boredom, but still enjoyed the activity. Future research might build upon the results found here and explore how specific alternative, incompatible behaviours might be differentially reinforced at the community level, as opposed to the individual level, in order to encourage sustainability-based behaviours in a larger population.
Dates of Intervention
Coal and Climate Change Facts, retrieved from. http://www.c2es.org/global-warming-basics/coalfacts.cfm on the 26/02/12 DeBell, C, S., & Harless, D, K. (1992) B. F. Skinner: Myth And Misperception, Teaching of Psychology, 19(2), 68-73. doi: 10.1207/s15328023top1902_1 Peterson, J. E., Shunturov, V., Janda, K., Platt, G., and Weinberger, K. (2007) Dormitory residents reduce electricity consumption when exposed to real-time visual feedback and incentives, International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, 8(1), 16-33. doi: 10.1108/14676370710717562 Power Plants Punished for Emissions Violations. (2011) retrieved from http://radio86.com/news/power-plants-punished-emissions-violations Stern, N. H., (2007) The Economics of Climate Change; The Stern Review, Cambridge University Press, England