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with Heather Gilmore, MSW, LLMSW, BCBA

Determinism: What is Determinism from an ABA Perspective? (FK-03)

Since applied behavior analysis is consider a science, ABA aligns itself with the attitudes of science which include determinism, empiricism, experimentation, replication, parsimony, and philosophic doubt.

In this article, we will cover the idea of determinism.

What is determinism?

Determinism is one of the many principles that make up the identify of science.

Determinism is based on the idea that behavior is lawful, that it is determined. Determinism assumes that behavior of living organisms is based on cause and effect. That is to say that behavior is caused by something and that behavior can effect other things.

According to the views based on determinism, behavior occurs because of things that happen in the environment.

Determinism states that there is a rational explanation for the behavior of living organisms. There is a natural order to things.

Without the perspective of determinism, the cause of behavior would not be understood. The opposite of determinism is believing that behavior does not have a cause, that behavior happens randomly or that behavior is predetermined.

Determinism is one of the primary characteristics of applied behavior analysis. Determinism assumes that all behavior is the result of certain events. Once these events are identified, future occurrences of a behavior can be modified.

Determinism is a primary characteristic of science which also means that it is a primary characteristic of ABA.

Believing in Determinism

Professionals who help change people’s behavior can use the perspective of determinism to support their work to improve their client’s quality of life.

Parents can help improve the lives and behaviors of their children and their families by believing in the concept of determinism, that people can improve their behaviors and quality of life can be improved based upon identifying the causes of behavior.

People, in general, can improve habits, health, and life experiences by believing that there is a rational explanation for the things that happen in life.

Determinism: What is Determinism from an ABA Perspective? (FK-03)

Heather Gilmore, MSW, BCBA

Heather is a freelance writer, Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA), and social worker. Heather takes interest in topics related to parenting, children, families, personal development, health and wellness, applied behavior analysis, as well as Autism, ADHD, Depression and Anxiety. Contact Heather if you would like to inquire about obtaining her freelance writing services. You can view more articles and resources from Heather at and email her at [email protected] You can also advertise your autism services at one of Heather's websites: Heather is the developer of the "One-Year ABA Parent Training Curriculum."


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APA Reference
Gilmore, H. (2020). Determinism: What is Determinism from an ABA Perspective? (FK-03). Psych Central. Retrieved on September 18, 2020, from