Title

Creating a Strategy for Progress: a Contextual Behavioral Science Approach

Document Type

Article

Journal/Book Title/Conference

The Behavior Analyst

Volume

32

Publication Date

Spring 4-1-2009

First Page

443

Last Page

448

DOI

10.1038/oby.2009.353

Abstract

Behavior analysis is a field dedicated to the development and application of behavioral principles to the understanding and modification of the psychological actions of organisms. As such, behavior analysis was committed from the beginning to a comprehensive account of behavior, stretching from animal learning to complex human behavior. Despite that lofty goal, basic behavior analysis is having a generally harder time finding academic support, and applied behavior analysis has narrowed its focus. In the present paper we argue that both of these trends relate to the challenge of human language and cognition, and that developments within clinical behavior analysis and the analysis of derived relational responding are providing a way forward. To take full advantage of these developments, however, we argue that behavior analysts need to articulate their unique approach to theory, to develop more flexible language systems for applied workers, and to expand their methodological flexibility. This approach, which we term contextual behavioral science, is meant as an evolutionary step that will allow behavior analysis to better capture the center of modern psychological concerns in both the basic and applied areas. Clinical behavior analysis is showing a way forward for behavior analysis to regain its vision as a comprehensive approach to behavior.

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