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Driving Green: Toward the prediction and influence of efficient driving behavior
AuthorNewsome, William Donald
AdvisorAlavosius, Mark P
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Sub-optimal efficiency in activities involving the consumption of fossil fuels, such as driving, contribute to a miscellany of negative environmental, political, economic and social externalities. Demonstrations of the effectiveness of feedback interventions can be found in countless organizational settings, as can demonstrations of individual differences in sensitivity to feedback interventions. Mechanisms providing feedback to drivers about fuel economy are becoming standard equipment in most new vehicles, but vary considerably in their constitution. A keystone of Radical Behaviorism is the acknowledgement that verbal behavior appears to play a role in mediating apparent susceptibility to influence by contingencies of varying delay. In the current study, samples of verbal behavior (rules) were collected in the context of a feedback intervention to improve driving efficiency. In an analysis of differences in individual responsiveness to the feedback intervention, the rate of novel rules per week generated by drivers is revealed to account for a substantial proportion of the variability in relative efficiency gains across participants. The predictive utility of conceptual tools, such as the basic distinction among contingency-shaped and rule governed behavior, the elaboration of direct-acting and indirect-acting contingencies, and the psychological flexibility model, is bolstered by these findings.