Behaviour Analysis is the natural scientific study of behaviour. Its origins date back to the early 20th century and was founded by B.F. Skinner. Behaviourism, the foundational philosophy, is the idea that humans improve their condition through behaviour change. Since the start, there have been countless research studies conducted to identify laws of behaviour. The results of these studies have influenced the fundamental principles, approaches and laws on which Applied Behaviour Analysis is based. Behaviour Analysts seek to understand the behaviour of individuals by studying environmental factors that consistently influence an individual’s behaviour.
The three main branches
There are three main branches:
- Conceptual Behaviour Analysis: focuses on the philosophical, theoretical, historical, and methodological issues that underlie the field of behaviour analysis
- Experimental Behaviour Analysis: is the basic science of the field and has over many decades accumulated in a substantial and respectable literature base. This literature provides the scientific foundation for applied behaviour analysis (ABA).
- Applied Behaviour Analysis: focuses on the application of the principles of behaviour to the needs of individuals to promote behaviour change and improve quality of life. The science of ABA is an evidenced based approach utilising behaviour analytic principles, methodologies and laws. These can have various treatment applications from substance abuse treatment, brain injury rehabilitation, occupational safety intervention, augmenting performance and satisfaction of employees in organisations and businesses, parent training and interventions for individuals with intellectual disabilities and autism.
The Seven Dimensions
ABA is should adhere to seven dimensions:
- Its applied to problems of social importance
- Its behaviour measures are reliable and valid
- Its procedures are described in sufficient technical detail so that others can easily replicate
- Its research methods are analytic
- Its effectiveness is socially significant
- Its generalisable across time, setting and behaviours
- Its relevance to an overall conceptual system of behaviour