Center for Applied Behavior Systems (CABS)

Faculty Director
Address(es)
202 Williams Hall
Hours
Monday: 10:00 am - 3:30 pm
Tuesday: 11:00 am - 3:30 pm
Wednesday: 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Thursday: 11:00 am - 5:00 pm
Friday: 11:00 am - 4:00 pm
Primary Phone

About Us

The Center for Applied Behavior Systems (CABS) is a center for intervention research located in the Psychology Department at Virginia Tech. The Center was founded by Dr. E. Scott Geller in 1987. In addition to Dr. Geller, the Center is led by three to five graduate students, two coordinators, and a faculty member in the Department of Animal Science - Dr. Erica Feuerbacher. Each semester 30 to 50 undergraduate students learn how to conduct research that combines the technology of applied behavior analysis with theories from experimental, social, and applied psychology. Our research not only provides opportunities for real-world, hands-on experience for our students, but it also works toward an improved quality of life in organizations throughout communities.

Objectives

  • Help students, undergraduate and graduate, learn how to conduct research that combines the technology of applied behavior analysis with theories from experimental, social, and applied psychology.
  • Give students real-world, hands-on research experience, from designing methodology and data analysis strategies to documenting findings in professional publications.
  • Teach community-based research and intervention techniques and approaches.
  • Give students the opportunity to participate in leading edge professional activities.
  • Improve quality of life in the community.
  • Teach and demonstrate the value of Actively Caring for People (www.ac4p.org)

Current Research Projects

AC4P Policing- E.S. Geller and Research Associates

Throughout the years experts have struggled to define the term “police culture.”  For most this label means a reactive approach to keeping people safe by using punitive consequences to punish or detain the perpetrators.  The result: More attention is given to the negative reactive side of policing than a positive proactive approach to preventing crime by cultivating an interdependent culture of residents looking out for the safety, health, and well-being of each other.  We believe police officers can play a critical and integral role in achieving such a community of compassion -- an actively-caring for people (AC4P) culture. Relevant behavioral and observational studies are conducted each semester in accordance with the Blacksburg and Virginia Tech police departments.

Pedestrian Behavior - E.S. Geller and Research Associates

Pedestrian behavior at crosswalks will be observed as well as that of drivers who stop at crosswalks. Are they (pedestrians and drivers) using a cell phone? Do pedestrians thank drivers for stoping, and if they do, do the drivers signal a "you're welcome"? In addition, we are applying social influence principles to increase prosocial behavior at pedestrian crosswalks.

Community-based interventions

Our research center also addresses numerous other community-based and organizational research, designed to improve behaviors and attitudes related to health, safety, sustainability, and general well-being.  Most of our behavioral targets are identified by graduate and undergraduate students.

Note: New intervention projects are developed each semester in general domains of: Environmental sustainability, impact of exercise and expressions of gratitude on well-being, increasing acts of kindness or AC4P behavior, contingency management to improve behavior, and decreasing interpersonal bullying.

Select Publications and Presentations

  • Geller, E. S. (2018). Life lessons from psychological science: Bringing out the best in yourself and others. New York: Worth Publishers.
  • Geller, E. S., & Geller, K. S. (2017). Actively caring for people's safety: Cultivating a brother's/sister's keeper culture. Park Ridge, Illinois: The American Society for Safety Engineers.
  • Geller, E. S. (2017). Actively caring for people in schools: How to make it happen. New York: Morgan James Publishers.
  • Geller, E. S., & Kipper, B. (2017). Actively caring for people policing: Building positive police/citizen relations. New York: Morgan James Publishers.
  • Geller, E. S. (Ed.) (2016). Applied psychology: Actively caring for people. New York: Cambridge University Press.
  • Geller, E. S., & Veazie, R. A. (2010). When No One's Watching: Living and leading self-motivation. Virginia Beach, VA: Coastal Training and Technologies Corporation.
  • Geller, E. S., & Veazie, R. A. (2009). The courage factor: Leading people-based culture change. Virginia Beach, VA: Coastal Training and Technologies Corporation.
  • Geller, E. S., & Johnson, D. (2008). People-based patient safety: Enriching your culture to prevent medical error. Virginia Beach, VA: Coastal Training and Technologies Corporation.
  • Geller, E. S. (2008). Leading people-based safety: Enriching your culture. Virginia Beach, VA: Coastal Training and Technologies Corporation.
  • Geller, E. S. (2005). People-based safety: The source. Virginia Beach, VA: Coastal Training and Technologies Corporation.

Join Us

We accept new (and returning) applicants in the first week of each semester. The deadline for Fall 2019 applications ends the first week of this coming fall semester. You may pick up and return applications in the same location: Williams 202.

Benefits

The Educational Core of CABS is designed to provide undergraduates with opportunities to learn more about the theories, models, and research methods commonly used in applied research. It is also designed to ensure students become involved in all aspects of the research processes. Completion of the Educational Core involves several components.

Many students in the past have felt CABS is an excellent way to get hands-on experience in applied psychological research. Often CABS is a valuable addition to a student's curriculum vita and looks impressive on application forms for graduate school. Depending on the level of your involvement in CABS, several opportunities occur for students to be a co-author on a research paper or poster presentation given at one of the many professional conferences CABS attends throughout the semester. In addition to being a co-author, you might be the presenter at these conferences as well. Being a co-author on a research presentation at a professional conference is an excellent way to bolster one's resume and gain valuable presentation experience.

In addition to the more obvious advantages mentioned above, being involved in CABS allows you to gain invaluable knowledge and expertise about theories and procedures used in applied psychological research that have broad applications across many disciplines and applications. Often students use the experiences gained in CABS to develop and implement their own project ideas in other fields and academic domains.

Requirements for Completion

  • Attend a weekly Center meeting - Tuesday evening, 5:30pm - 7:00pm
  • A minimum of 84 hours (for 2 credits) including:
    • A minimum of 45 hours (for 2 credits) of data collection
    • A minimum of 15 (for 2 credits) of data entry
    • Attend meetings for research projects


If you have any questions please contact:
Annie Eick eannie4@vt.edu
Rhiannon Takemoto-Jennings rktj18@vt.edu