Applied Behavior Analysis

Applied behavior analysis (ABA) is a branch of behavior analysis.  The primary focus of ABA is to better understand and improve human behavior.  The purpose of ABA is to help improve people’s lives.  Applied behavior analysis uses principles of human behavior in order to achieve this goal.  Like laws of gravity, there are “laws” of behavior.  Every behavior occurs with a purpose; the job of ABA is to figure out that purpose.  For example, ABA seeks to determine the purpose of problematic behaviors in order to replace that behavior with a desirable behavior.

Behavior analysts use principles of learning to change behavior in a variety of situations with a variety of individuals.  “Examples of [ABA] applications include: building the skills and achievements of children in school settings; enhancing the development, abilities, and choices of children and adults with different kinds of disabilities; and augmenting the performance and satisfaction of employees in organizations and businesses” (Source: About Behavior Analysis via BACB).

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References and Resources

  • Cooper, J. O., Heron, T. E., & Heward, W. L. (2007). Applied behavior analysis, 2nd ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall.
  • About Behavior Analysis via the Behavior Analyst Certification Board

For the purposes of BACB certifications and examinations, the content of applied behavior analysis is contained in the BACB Task List (Source: About Behavior Analysis via BACB).


The Behavior Station®

The Behavior Station®