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5 thoughts on “Brief History of Applied Behavior Analysis

  • February 15, 2019 at 12:53 pm
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    Great review!! There’s a lot I still don’t know about ABA and there’s a lot of history to be done yet.

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    • February 15, 2019 at 11:58 pm
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      Thank you for the positive feedback. Much appreciated! There is certainly still so much to learn and discover about the field of ABA. I plan to continue to update this post as I research and learn more, as well.

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  • March 20, 2019 at 3:00 pm
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    This is a useful call for attention to a valuable resource. And I find your historical timeline interesting and thought-provoking. Thank you!

    I think it’s helpful to distinguish between behavioral analysis and APPLIED behavioral analysis, a subset of which is clinical behavioral analysis. Industrial behavioral analysis is a long way from the clinical applications of Marsha Linehan, for example, which have had such a huge impact on psychotherapy, yet the basic principles in both were laid out by the experimental empiricists of an earlier time.

    For those of us who are not primarily overt behaviorists, I would simply urge recognition that this tradition in psychology is of immense historical importance in the development of how we humans think about ourselves. It is the first time in our intellectual history that we brought to bear upon our own behavior the close naturalistic observation that is the heart of science.

    Perhaps paradoxically, behavioral analysis has also provided enormous support for the view that our brain is an information processing system, which view is dominant in our own time. Where there is order in the environment which leads to order in behavior there has to be some sort of internal process prior to the order, and indeed we are increasingly able to see and analyze components of that internal process. But it all begins with observation of the relation between ordered environment and subsequent ordered behavior. We owe much gratitude to the pioneers of behavioral analysis.

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  • March 7, 2020 at 1:41 pm
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    Thank you for compiling these milestones for us. When women’s names started appearing, it would be nice to see their first names to let us be aware of them. For example, Ellen P. Reese animal training films and Stephanie B. Stoltz at NIH.

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