I heard that you guys study rats and pigeons and would turn us all into robots.
Well, no, regarding the robots part. Regarding rats and pigeons, check out what Alan Kazdin has to say.
There are many myths and urban legends about behavior analysis. In fact, there’s an entire literature dedicated to eradicating those misrepresentations. On this site, “Nine Things Everyone Should Know about Behavior Analysis” is a great introductory summary of behavior analysis and “Common Misrepresentations” will probably address most of what you’ve heard that isn’t so.
If you still have questions, send them along to Roger Bass WisABA Past President.