Everyone’s quality of life depends on the kind of world we create for each other and ourselves. Behavior analysts are intensely concerned with researching how our surroundings and personal histories determine who we become so that we can help others to healthier, happier lives. Behavior analysis converts our curiosity about we do what we do, into procedures for improving the human condition.
So what has behavior analysis done for me lately?
Here’s just a small sample of what behavior analysts have been up to (I apologize in advance for the the 1000s of examples that were omitted because the space here was severely limited):
- Improving education. Many of our best instructional procedures and positive classroom management tactics were initiated by behavior analysts.
- Healthcare. Programs for dealing with eating disorders, high blood pressure, ulcers, and many, many more disorders that now yield to behavior analytic techniques but previously required medication. On the preventative side, there are programs to improve compliance with exercise programs, improve eating habits, reduce smoking, and so much more a subspecialties have arisen.
- Parenting. Parenting skills from handling recalcitrant children to toilet training have been addressed.
- Safety. Improving safety ranges from increasing seat belt usage to programs that encourage safe practices on worksites.
- Autism. For the first time, parents of children who are autistic have effective procedures for meeting the challenges that disability presents.
- Students with disbailities. Children with attention deficit disorders, hyperactivity, mental retardation, learning disabilities, emotional disturbance, and many other challenges, have found behavior analysis to be the only procedures that bring substantive improvement.
- Clinical psychology. Many of debilitating personal problems bring people to counseling have been successfully addressed by behavior analysis: excessive and irrational fear and anxiety, marriage problems, alcoholism and drug addiction, obsessive-compulsive behavior, and many more.
- Sports. Coaching skills and effective training procedures have been developed.
- Achieving our highest potential. Self-management programs have been a focus of behavior analysis for decades.
- Business and organizations. Human resources personnel and those responsible for managing employees in business settings have benefited from behavior analysis’ effective and positive approaches.
- Given all of us reason to optimistic. Behavior analysts have repeatedly shown that incredibly complex behavior such as making better choices, learning and using language, and insight and creativity can not only be studied, but taught.