Individual Behavior (individual + behavior)

Distribution by Scientific Domains

Selected Abstracts

Individual, Population, Community, and Ecosystem Consequences of a Fish Invader in New Zealand Streams

Colin R. Townsend
But because invaders can have unexpected indirect effects in food webs, invasion ecologists need to integrate processes at the population level and other ecological levels. I describe a series of coordinated studies in New Zealand streams that address the effect of an exotic fish on individual behavior, population, community, and ecosystem patterns. Such case studies are important as an aid to the formulation of policy about invasions that are especially likely to become problematic. At the individual level, grazing invertebrates showed changes in behavior as a result of the introduction of brown trout ( Salmo trutta), a predator that exerts a very different selection pressure than do native fish. At the population level, trout have replaced nonmigratory galaxiid fish in some streams but not others, and have affected the distributions of crayfish and other large invertebrates. At the community level, trout have suppressed grazing pressure from invertebrates and are thus responsible for enhancing algal biomass and changing algal species composition. Finally, at the ecosystem level, essentially all annual production of invertebrates is consumed by trout ( but not by galaxiids), and algal primary productivity is six times higher in a trout stream. This leads, in turn, to an increased flux of nutrients from the water to the benthic community. The trout invasion has led to strong top-down control of community structure and ecosystem functioning via its effects on individual behavior and population distribution and abundance. Particular physiological, behavioral, and demographic traits of invaders can lead to profound ecosystem consequences that managers need to take into account. Resumen: Para desarrollar procedimientos y políticas de manejo efectivos a menudo será necesario conocer la biología de la población de especies invasoras. Sin embargo, debido a que los invasores pueden tener efectos indirectos inesperados en las redes alimenticias, ecólogos de invasión necesitan integrar procesos en la población y otros niveles ecológicos. Describo una serie de estudios coordinados en arroyos de Nueva Zelanda que enfocan el impacto de un pez exótico sobre los patrones de comportamiento individual, de la población, la comunidad y el ecosistema. Tales estudios de caso son importantes como un auxiliar para la formulación de políticas sobre invasiones que pueden ser especialmente problemáticas. Al nivel individual, los invertebrados que pastorean mostraron cambios de conducta como resultado de la introducción de la trucha café ( Salmo trutta), un depredador que ejerce una presión de selección muy diferente a la de los peces nativos. En el nivel de población, las truchas han reemplazado a peces galaxídos no migratorios en algunos arroyos pero no en otros y han afectado las distribuciones de cangrejos de río y otros invertebrados mayores. Al nivel de comunidad, las truchas han suprimido la presión de pastoreo por invertebrados y por lo tanto son responsables del incremento de la biomasa de algas y del cambio en la composición de especies de algas. Finalmente, a nivel de ecosistema, la producción anual de invertebrados esencialmente es consumida por las truchas ( pero no por galaxídos), y la productividad primaria de algas es seis veces mayor en arroyos con truchas. A su vez, esto conduce a incrementos en el flujo de nutrientes del agua hacia la comunidad béntica. La invasión de truchas ha conducido a un fuerte control de arriba hacia abajo de la estructura de la comunidad y del funcionamiento del ecosistema por medio de sus efectos sobre la conducta individual y la distribución y abundancia de la población. Las características fisiológicas, de conducta y demográficas particulares de los invasores pueden llevar a consecuencias profundas en los ecosistemas que los administradores necesitan tomar en consideración. [source]


This article examines whether noncognitive skills,measured both by personality traits and by economic preference parameters,influence cognitive tests' performance. The basic idea is that noncognitive skills might affect the effort people put into a test to obtain good results. We experimentally varied the rewards for questions in a cognitive test to measure to what extent people are sensitive to financial incentives. To distinguish increased mental effort from extra time investments, we also varied the questions' time constraints. Subjects with favorable personality traits such as high performance motivation and an internal locus of control perform relatively well in the absence of rewards, consistent with a model in which trying as hard as you can is the best strategy. In contrast, favorable economic preference parameters (low discount rate, low risk aversion) are associated with increases in time investments when incentives are introduced, consistent with a rational economic model in which people only invest when there are monetary returns. The main conclusion is that individual behavior at cognitive tests depends on noncognitive skills. (JEL J20, J24) [source]

Experiments in Environmental Economics and Some Close Relatives

Bodo Sturm
Abstract., It is not only the great number of papers written on environment economics that make it worth dealing with this special branch of experimental research, but the environmental problem in all its facets seems to serve as a catalyst for identifying some methodological problems of the experimental method. For this reason, we will not only try to give an overview of recent experiments in environmental economics but also add some thoughts on the methodological implications of this work. We identify three direct connecting factors for the experimental method and environmental economics. First, social dilemmas are, in many cases, at the core of environmental problems. Experiments are able to test theoretical hypotheses for individual behavior in such social dilemma situations. The second connecting factor comes from the field of applied experimental work and can be characterized as the testbedding of institutional arrangements for the solution of environmental problems. The last direct application of experimental methods to environmental economics concerns the individual evaluation of environmental resources. [source]

New ideas and fertility limitation: The role of mass media

Jennifer S. Barber
This article investigates the mass media as a social change that shapes individual behavior primarily via ideational mechanisms. We construct a theoretical framework drawing on social demography and social psychology to explain how mass media may affect behavior via attitudinal change. Empirical analyses of 1,091 couples in the Chitwan Valley Family Study, using detailed measures of social change from rural Nepal, show that exposure to the mass media is related to childbearing behavior, and to preferences for smaller families, weaker son preferences, and tolerance of contraceptive use. This result should motivate greater research attention to the influence of changing ideas on behavioral changes, particularly in the study of families. [source]

New Environmental Theories: Toward a Coherent Theory of Environmentally Significant Behavior

Paul C. Stern
This article develops a conceptual framework for advancing theories of environmentally significant individual behavior and reports on the attempts of the author's research group and others to develop such a theory. It discusses definitions of environmentally significant behavior; classifies the behaviors and their causes; assesses theories of environmentalism, focusingespecially on value-belief-norm theory; evaluates the relationship between environmental concern and behavior; and summarizes evidence on the factors that determine environmentally significant behaviors and that can effectively alter them. The article concludes by presenting some major propositions supported by available research and some principles for guiding future research and informing the design of behavioral programs for environmental protection. [source]

Is the Sum Greater than Its Parts?

LAW & POLICY, Issue 4 2010
Circuit Court Composition, Judicial Behavior in the Courts of Appeals
Building on strategic models and the collegial nature of the U.S. courts of appeals, this article assesses the influence of a circuits' composition on individual judges' behaviors and the president's role in shaping the courts. As partisanship is one of the few signals of a nominee's ideology known to an executive administration at the time of appointment, it is important to measure partisan composition as a factor in individual behavior as well as other measures of overall ideology of the circuit. This article finds that the composition of the circuits influences individual behavior, even after controlling for individual ideology, panel effects, and other contextual factors. This remains true whether we examine composition based on partisanship or on more nuanced ideological measures. Noting that presidents, on average, create new partisan majorities within two circuits per four-year term, these findings suggest turnover on circuit courts may have influences on case outcomes outside of a particular new appointee's voting record. [source]

Intrinsische Motivation und umweltpolitische Instrumente

Erik Gawel
In the discussion on the rational choice model of individual behavior, a growing emphasis has recently been placed on the importance of intrinsic motivation. Contrary to assumptions made in the standard economic literature, it is suggested that an individual's motivation to act may not be exclusively determined by external influences (incentives, restrictions) and (given) personal preferences, but, in addition, depends on intrinsically anchored ethical preferences. Intrinsic motivation may diminish if parallel external incentives, such as rewards or orders, come into play: Insofar as external intervention weakens the corresponding intrinsic motivation to act, the (normal) effect of relative prices is opposed by a (countervailing) crowding-out effect of intrinsic motivation. The effect of (over-) crowding-out has been thematized especially in the context of environmental policy. It was suggested that subsidies may support intrinsic incentives whereas taxes and licences (especially though command-and-control measures) tend to undermine them. This paper critically analyzes the impact of intrinsic behavior considerations on the evaluation of environmental policy instruments. It is argued that, if at all, economists' standard recommendations for policy design with respect to subsidies need not be revised even if intrinsic motivation plays any role for the agents' environmental bevavior. Furthermore, command-and-control policy might rather support than weaken intrinsic motivation. [source]

Taking Others into Account: Self-Interest and Fairness in Majority Decision Making

Jan Sauermann
Research on the formal properties of democratic aggregation mechanisms has a long tradition in political science. Recent theoretical developments, however, show that in the discussion of normative contents of democratic decisions, the actual shape of preferences deserves just as much attention. However, our knowledge about the concrete motivations of individual behavior in democratic decisions is incomplete. Using laboratory experiments, this article examines the existence of social preferences in majority decisions. Contrary to earlier experiments of committee decision making, we develop a design that controls for the conditions of communication and the level of information between subjects. This allows us to comparatively test the predictive power of several theories. We find strong evidence that self-interest and fairness motivate human behavior in majority decisions. [source]

Obesity in adults and children: a call for action

Karyn Holm PhD RN FAAN
Obesity in adults and children: a call for action Obesity/overweight in adults and children is a worldwide health problem associated with substantial economic burden as measured by paid sick leave, life and disability insurance rates, and obesity-related physician visits and hospital stays. Overweight/obese people experience hypertension, elevated cholesterol, and type 2 diabetes and suffer more joint and mobility problems than people within the normal weight for height range. While there is need to understand individual behaviors that can be modified to promote weight loss and weight maintenance, there is as great a need to consider contextual factors at the societal level that can impede or even sabotage weight control efforts. In every country with improved living standards people will continue to eat too much and engage in too little physical activity. The call for action is for all modernized societies to alter environments and attitudes to support, rather than hinder, healthy dietary intake and being physically active. [source]

The Columbia Cooperative Aging Program: An Interdisciplinary and Interdepartmental Approach to Geriatric Education for Medical Interns

Mathew S. Maurer MD
Although there is a critical need to prepare physicians to care for the growing population of older adults, many academic medical centers lack the geriatric-trained faculty and dedicated resources needed to support comprehensive residency training programs in geriatrics. Because of this challenge at Columbia University, the Columbia Cooperative Aging Program was developed to foster geriatric training for medical interns. For approximately 60 interns each year completing their month-long geriatric rotations, an integral part of this training now involves conducting comprehensive assessments with "well" older people, supervised by an interdisciplinary team of preceptors from various disciplines, including cardiology, internal medicine, occupational therapy, geriatric nursing, psychiatry, education, public health, social work, and medical anthropology. Interns explore individual behaviors and social supports that promote health in older people; older people's strengths, vulnerabilities, and risk for functional decline; and strategies for maintaining quality of life and independence. In addition, a structured "narrative medicine" writing assignment is used to promote the interns' reflections on the assessment process, the data gathered, and their clinical reasoning throughout. Preliminary measures of the program's effect have shown significant improvements in attitudes toward, and knowledge of, older adults as patients, as well as in interns' self-assessed clinical skills. For academic medical centers, where certified geriatric providers are scarce, this approach may be an effective model for fostering residency geriatric education among interns. [source]

Can paying for results help to achieve the Millennium Development Goals?

Overview of the effectiveness of results-based financing
Abstract Objective Results-based financing and pay-for-performance refer to the transfer of money or material goods conditional on taking a measurable action or achieving a predetermined performance target. Results-based financing is widely advocated for achieving health goals, including the Millennium Development Goals. Methods We undertook an overview of systematic reviews of the effectiveness of RBF. We searched the Cochrane Library, EMBASE, and MEDLINE (up to August 2007). We also searched for related articles in PubMed, checked the reference lists of retrieved articles, and contacted key informants. We included reviews with a methods section that addressed the effects of any results-based financing in the health sector targeted at patients, providers, organizations, or governments. We summarized the characteristics and findings of each review using a structured format. Results We found 12 systematic reviews that met our inclusion criteria. Based on the findings of these reviews, financial incentives targeting recipients of health care and individual healthcare professionals are effective in the short run for simple and distinct, well-defined behavioral goals. There is less evidence that financial incentives can sustain long-term changes. Conditional cash transfers to poor and disadvantaged groups in Latin America are effective at increasing the uptake of some preventive services. There is otherwise very limited evidence of the effects of results-based financing in low- or middle-income countries. Results-based financing can have undesirable effects, including motivating unintended behaviors, distortions (ignoring important tasks that are not rewarded with incentives), gaming (improving or cheating on reporting rather than improving performance), widening the resource gap between rich and poor, and dependency on financial incentives. Conclusion There is limited evidence of the effectiveness of results-based financing and almost no evidence of the cost-effectiveness of results-based financing. Based on the available evidence and likely mechanisms through which financial incentives work, they are more likely to influence discrete individual behaviors in the short run and less likely to create sustained changes. [source]

A Latent Growth Curve Analysis of the Structure of Aggression, Drug Use, and Delinquent Behaviors and Their Interrelations Over Time in Urban and Rural Adolescents

Albert D. Farrell
Latent growth curve analysis was used to examine the structure and interrelations among aggression, drug use, and delinquent behavior during early adolescence. Five waves of data were collected from 667 students at three urban middle schools serving a predominantly African American population, and from a more ethnically diverse sample of 950 students at four rural middle schools. One set of models focused on changes in individual behaviors; the other on changes in a global problem behavior factor. Models with separate growth trajectories for aggression, drug use, and delinquent behavior provided the best fit for both samples and revealed relations between initial levels of aggression and subsequent changes in the other behaviors. Boys and girls differed in their initial levels of these behaviors, but not their patterns of change. Differences in growth curve trajectories were found across samples. These findings have important implications for assessment and prevention of problem behaviors in adolescents. [source]

Search and navigation in dynamic environments , from individual behaviors to population distributions

OIKOS, Issue 5 2008
Thomas Mueller
Animal movement receives widespread attention within ecology and behavior. However, much research is restricted within isolated sub-disciplines focusing on single phenomena such as navigation (e.g. homing behavior), search strategies (e.g. Levy flights) or theoretical considerations of optimal population dispersion (e.g. ideal free distribution). To help synthesize existing research, we outline a unifying conceptual framework that integrates individual-level behaviors and population-level spatial distributions with respect to spatio-temporal resource dynamics. We distinguish among (1) non-oriented movements based on diffusion and kinesis in response to proximate stimuli, (2) oriented movements utilizing perceptual cues of distant targets, and (3) memory mechanisms that assume prior knowledge of a target's location. Species' use of these mechanisms depends on life-history traits and resource dynamics, which together shape population-level patterns. Resources with little spatial variability should facilitate sedentary ranges, whereas resources with predictable seasonal variation in spatial distributions should generate migratory patterns. A third pattern, ,nomadism', should emerge when resource distributions are unpredictable in both space and time. We summarize recent advances in analyses of animal trajectories and outline three major components on which future studies should focus: (1) integration across alternative movement mechanisms involving links between state variables and specific mechanisms, (2) consideration of dynamics in resource landscapes or environments that include resource gradients in predictability, variability, scale, and abundance, and finally (3) quantitative methods to distinguish among population distributions. We suggest that combining techniques such as evolutionary programming and pattern oriented modeling will help to build strong links between underlying movement mechanisms and broad-scale population distributions. [source]

Real-Time Inter-Rater Reliability of the Council of Emergency Medicine Residency Directors Standardized Direct Observation Assessment Tool

Joseph LaMantia MD
Abstract Objectives:, Developed by the Council of Emergency Medicine Residency Directors (CORD), the standardized direct observation assessment tool (SDOT) is an evaluation instrument used to assess residents' clinical skills in the emergency department (ED). In a previous study examining the inter-rater agreement of the tool, faculty scored simulated resident,patient encounters. The objective of the present study was to evaluate the inter-rater agreement of the SDOT in real-time evaluations of residents in the ED. Methods:, This was a multi-center, prospective, observational study in which faculty raters were paired to simultaneously observe and independently evaluate a resident's clinical performance using the SDOT. Data collected from eight emergency medicine (EM) residency programs produced 99 unique resident,patient encounters and reported on 26 individual behaviors related to specific core competencies, global evaluation scores for each core competency, and an overall clinical competency score. Inter-rater agreement was assessed using percentage agreement analyses with three constructs: exact agreement, liberal agreement, and binary (pass/fail) agreement. Results:, Inter-rater agreement between faculty raters varied according to category of measure used. Exact agreement ranged from poor to good, depending on the measure: the overall competency score (good), the competency score for each of the six core competencies (poor to good), and the individual item scores (fair to very good). Liberal agreement and binary agreement were excellent for the overall competency score and the competency score for each of the six core competencies and very good to excellent for the individual item scores. Conclusions:, The SDOT demonstrated excellent inter-rater agreement when analyzed with liberal agreement and when dichotomized as a pass/fail measure and fair to good agreement for most measures with exact agreement. The SDOT can be useful and reliable when evaluating residents' clinical skills in the ED, particularly as it relates to marginal performance. [source]