The Importance of a Deeper Knowledge of the History and Theoretical Foundations of Behavior Analysis: 1863–1960

    loading  Checking for direct PDF access through Ovid


The present article argues for the greater examination of the importance of studying the historical foundations of the field of applied behavior analysis (ABA). The increased volume of students in the behavior analysis field over the last 10 years underscores the need to emphasize the historical, scientific, and philosophical foundations that have made the field so strong. The philosophy of science of behaviorism and ABA was linked to several disciplines initially, and evolved into a role in the field of psychology. A detailed justification for the study of the history and philosophy of a science of behavior is presented and will flow into the earliest origins of behaviorism and the maturation of the field. Current financial contingencies have resulted in the misperception that the ABA field is primarily targeted at behavioral challenges related to the mitigation of autism spectrum disorder. As a consequence, there has been a departure from the philosophical and conceptual aspects of behavior analysis. A departure from the philosophical and scientific underpinnings of the field can prove problematic in the long run. This article will detail the contributions of the pioneers in the field, and end at the beginning of the second generation of behavior therapy in the early 1960s. Discussion of the foundations of behavior analysis will help new practitioners and students of behavior analysis to better appreciate the intellectual depth of the field.

    loading  Loading Related Articles