This study confirmed that multitudinous barefoot-to-floor cleaning trials, during elongated habitation periods, do noticeably clean a varnished wooden floor. The cleaner, Subject A, took anti-psychotic medication which caused frequent pacing in the chamber, his studio apartment. He escaped the aversion of the miniscule particles stuck on unclad feet, by lifting his leg and brushing them off into a waste basket. ABAB conditions alternated between a clad-foot, non-cleaning, control condition and an unclad-foot-to-floor experimental cleaning condition. The independent variable, A's feet, varied between clad and unclad states. A's mother, Subject B, collected the data for the dependent variable, floor cleanliness, by donning white cotton gloves and swiping each finger across various locations on the floor. Floor dirtiness was determined by her cleanliness probes. Subject A photographed the dirty gloves and sent the .jpg's to a PC. Image processing software converted each black and white facsimile into its dirtiness percentage, its grayness, total black pixels divided by total black and white pixels. Data revealed that the floor was much cleaner when his feet were bare.
Housekeeping is a chore. Human energy levels are depleted by the intense levels of energy required to sweep, vacuum, and damp mop a wooden floor. Vacuums are noisy and they disturb the neighbors of apartment and condominium buildings. An alternative exists that is easier, quieter, more economical, and more friendly to the environment than conventional floor cleaning products, the human foot. Peer-reviewed journals covering Applied Behavior Analysis have not yet analyzed the foot-to-floor cleaning tecnique. Results of this experiment can explain why foot-to-floor cleaning is an effective, efficient, yet untapped solution to the drudgery of conventional methods. Further research is needed on the pragmatic effect of other body parts, such as mouthing a spoon to remove a layer of peanut butter, rubbing hands over damp, clean dishes in order to dry them, pulling a hat down over the lower forehead ridge of the skull to keep it from blowing away, and inserting a piece of dental floss between the two front teeth to free up the hands when the demand for another operation interrupts the flossing.
During the experiment, subject A was a 45-year-old, 5 '8", apple-shaped, beefy, unpaid writer who had been living with his mother until he was 44. He is certificated and experienced as a "Teacher of the Handicapped" and he eventually became disabled from teaching. He was diagnosed with a grandiose delusional disorder. He has been taking anti-psychotic medication since 1979 and his symptoms are mostly in remission. Besides weight gain, the only other major side effect of anti-psychotic medication has been has been chronically excessive and erratic sleeping patterns.
Subject B, his mother, was 68 and the time of the experiment. She is currently deceased. She had been a public elementary school teacher and reading specialist. She stood 5 '4" tall and presented a solid, stout, sturdy frame.
The experiment took place in 2004 in the all-purpose room of Subject A's studio apartment which also contained a small bathroom and kitchen. The unit was one of four apartments in old house set in a middle-class neighborhood near the boardwalk of a local beach town at the New Jersey Shore.
The all-purpose-room floor was made of varnished oak slats. The kitchen floor was linoleum and the bathroom was tile.
The research followed the ABAB, alternating condition protocol under the following conditions. On the last day of the each period, Subject B, A's mother, collected primary data on the dependent variable, the cleanliness of the floor. A's computer software converted the measurement of each of her probes into a mathematical representation of the cleanliness.
A-1: In the pre-experimental, baseline control condition, A-1, Subject A's feet were almost always clad and he hadn't cleaned the floor with a mop, sponge, broom, vacuum, or any other conventional cleaning product for at least two months before B measured for cleanliness. Dependent variable probe: A-1: day 1, the only day of A-1. Independent variable: clad feet.
B-1: The first experimental condition, B-1, lasted for two full weeks when Subject A continuously, consistently, and repeatedly cleaned the floor with multitudinous trials with his unclad-foot. Dependent variable probe: B-1: final day: 14. Independent variable: unclad feet.
A-2: The second control condition, return to baseline, A-2, lasted for three months and thirteen days while B was out on winter sabbatical. The house was poorly insulated. The temperature in the chamber fell. A donned slippers to keep his feet warm. All housecleaning by A, including foot-cleaning, had ceased almost entirely. When she returned, B probed for cleanliness A-2: final day 103. Independent variable: clad feet.
B-2: This was the second experimental condition. As in B-1, B-2 lasted for fourteen days. B conducted a B-2: day 14 dependent variable cleanliness probe. Independent variable: unclad feet.
A-1: Clad-Foot, Non-Cleaning, Baseline Control Condition
Under baseline Condition A-1, Subject A wore socks, slippers, or shoes without going barefoot for a minimum of two months while home in his residence. Then one day, quite by surprise Subject B entered the scene knocking at the front door. A invited B inside and she said, "You haven't seen me in a month."
He said, "I'm sorry, but I've been writing a lot."
She said, "I see you haven't been making your bed."
He said, "Mother, if I made the bed every morning, as soon as I napped, I'd mess it up again. That's what a TV news anchor told Barbara Walters when she asked him why we don't make their beds."
Then she pulled a glove over her left hand, bent down to her knees, swiped the floor with her index finger, stood up, repositioned herself to another location on the floor, and swiped it again with her middle finger. then she did the ring finger, the pinky, and the thumb across different spots on the floor.
She said, "David, you should be ashamed of yourself. Look at this filth!" Then she pounced up on her feet, walked out of the apartment, and shut the door behind her. She went out to her car, retrieved a bag of white gloves, opened the door, this time without knocking, pounced back inside, set the bag on top of his laptop, removed her dirty white glove, and threw it on the floor.
She said, "Stop your ABA writing and analyze your own behavior!"
Then she walked out the door and departed the scene.
Subject A lifted the glove up from the floor and studied it intently.
Utterly humiliated, Subject A resolved to never let it happen again, but he didn't like sweeping, vacuuming, or mopping, so he was hit with the hunch that he could make his mother happy by cleaning the floor with his feet.
He wondered if the filth on the glove triggered in her an emotional disgust reaction. He supposed she would come back soon with another white glove and keep running it over the floor.
So he set the baseline glove on top of a white sheet of paper, photographed the image in black and white, and uploaded it to his laptop. Its image processing software determined the percentage of gray on the glove. The level of gray became the dependent variable. Clad feet versus unclad feet became the independent variable. So the glove from Baseline Condition A-1 became Glove A-1.
He believed that the intensity and direction (favorable or unfavorable) of her vocal reaction to the dirt on the floor was a function of the level of gray on the glove.
Prior experience and his anatomy text had taught him that tiny pebbles, grains of sand, dirt, and dust bunnies adhere to unclad soles of bilaterally symmetric organisms when they ambulate across wooden and linoleum surfaces. Mechanoreceptors respond to mechanical cutaneous pressure and distortion when particles adhere to the glabrous epidermis of the anatomical structure. Afferent neurons carry the nerve impulses to the central nervous system which mobilizes musculoskeletal responses.
Therefore, the hypothesis of this experiment emerged as follows: Persistent, continuous, and multitudinous barefoot-to-floor cleaning trials by a home-dweller, during elongated periods of habitation, will noticeably clean a varnished wooden floor. One measurement of a grime-free residence is the relative level of discoloration on a white cotton glove that has been swiped by the fingers inside of it across various locations of a varnished wood floor.
B-1: Barefoot-to-Floor Experimental Cleaning Condition
Two weeks had passed since A-1: Day 1 while every day A paced in his bare naked feet. As expected, B entered exactly as expected on B-1: Day 14.
She said, "David, it smells nice in here. What have you done with your place?"
"I've been cleaning the floor, Mother."
"You have? What a good son! If you don't mind, I'm just going to see for myself."
"If you must, go ahead and make yourself happy."
Five times she dropped to her hands and knees and tested the floor. She inspected the glove and said, "David, you make me so happy. I knew you could do it!"
Then she stayed with her son for two hours when she emptied the icebox and cooked him some borscht.
David said to his mother, "I would like to save it as a memento." She gave him the glove and a hug and went home with a smile from ear to ear.
He took a picture of the glove and loaded it into his laptop.
A-2: Return to Clad-Foot, Non-Cleaning Control Condition (being prepared by the blogger)
B-2: Return to Barefoot-to-Floor Experimental Cleaning Condition (being prepared by the blogger)
B swiped all five of her glove-inserted fingers across twenty different locations of A's wooden floor during four separate conditions of an ABAB double-return-to-baseline experiment with two clad-feet, non-cleaning conditions (A-1 and A-2) and two subsequent unclad feet, barefoot-to-floor cleaning conditions (B-1 and B-2), as described in the methods section of this report. Mathematical representations of the amount of dirt on the floor on the last day of each condition revealed the floor was cleaner when he kept his shoes, socks and slippers off his feet, paced around the room, and brushed off the particles that stuck to his feet into the garage pail and into the latrine. The hypothesis, that persistent, continuous, and multitudinous barefoot-to-floor cleaning trials by a home-dweller, during elongated periods of habitation, will noticeably clean a varnished wooden floor, is therefore temporarily confirmed, pending corroboration or falsification by additional behavior analytic experiments.
In its first test, the hypothesis has been confirmed. More corroborative study is necessary to determine whether or not it fits within the framework of the theoretical ABA system.
Post experimental trials have determined that the foot can reach floor locations where brooms cannot. Avoidance of mop-wringing and vacuum maintenance occurs. Delaying equipment replacement creates remunerative generalized conditioned positive reinforcement, tacted in Standard English as "money-savings."
Facile responses replace the inescapably painstaking exertion involved in the conventional methods thus rendering the method efficient and effective.
Follow-up anecdotal evidence shows that David has maintained perpetual foot cleaning responses consistently for fifteen years after they performed the initial experiment. David and Cornelia lived happily and cooperatively in nearby towns for fourteen year until she peacefully passed away from inside a room at a local hospital.
Members of the genus Homo should ask physicians about heath hazards before undertaking a foot-to-floor cleaning plan, wash their hands and feet before and after each operation, and take common sense safety precautions such as sweeping and vacuuming a floor after glass breakage and doffing shoes while penetrating an abode.
This experimenter's altruistic behavior is well-maintained by infrequent reinforcement schedules, so he will submit reports to open-access, peer-reviewed ABA journals instead of submitting the Human Foot to the U.S. Patent Office, so that fellow citizens of the international community can capitalize freely upon the findings.