Encyclopedia of Autism Spectrum Disorders

Living Edition
| Editors: Fred R. Volkmar

Behavior Analysis

  • Mary Jane WeissEmail author
  • Thomas Zane
  • Samantha Russo
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-6435-8_1128-3



Behavior analysis is, “the experimental investigation of variables that influence the behavior of any living organism” (Mayer et al. 2012, p. 6). Often, it is used interchangeably with applied behavior analysis. While there is a relationship between the two, they are not synonymous. There are three branches of the science of behavior analysis – behaviorism, experimental analysis of behavior (EAB), and applied behavior analysis (ABA) (Cooper et al. 2007). ABA, therefore, is one branch of the science of behavior analysis. In addition to these three branches of the science, there is also a focus on practice guided by behavior analysis.

Historical Background

The question of why people behave as they do has been answered in many ways. Over the centuries, many different belief systems have evolved to explain human behavior, including religion, mythology, astrology, and cultural practices. Psychologists, whose focus is on behavior, have developed...

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References and Reading

  1. Ayllon, T., & Michael, J. (1959). The psychiatric nurse as a behavioral engineer. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 2, 323–334.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Baer, D. M., Wolf, M. M., & Risley, T. (1968). Some current dimensions of applied behavior analysis. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 20, 313–327.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bijou, S. W., Birnbruer, J. S., Kidder, J. D., & Tague, C. (1966). Programmed instruction as an approach to teaching of reading, writing, and arithmetic to retarded children. The Psychological Record, 16, 505–522.Google Scholar
  4. Birnbrauer, J. S., Wolf, M. M., Kidder, J. D., & Tague, C. E. (1965). Classroom behavior of retarded pupils with token reinforcement. Journal of Exceptional Child Psychology, 2, 219–235.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Cooper, J. O., Heron, T. E., & Heward, W. L. (2007). Applied behavior analysis (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River: Pearson.Google Scholar
  6. Hall, R. V., Lund, D., & Jackson, D. (1968). Effects of teacher attention on study behavior. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 1, 1–12.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Mayer, G. R., Sulzer-Azaroff, B., & Wallace, M. (2012). Behavior analysis for lasting change (2nd ed.). Cornwall-on-Hudson: Sloan Publishing.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media LLC 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for Behavioral StudiesEndicott CollegeBeverlyUSA
  2. 2.Van Loan School of Graduate and Professional Studies Endicott CollegeThe Institute for Behavioral StudiesBeverlyUSA
  3. 3.Endicott CollegeBeverlyUSA