The Role of Kindness in Applied Behavior Analysis
Behavioral principles of learning and motivation are powerful concepts that have produced powerful technologies for behavior change. However, the tremendous effectiveness of ABA principles does not necessarily guarantee that they will be implemented in a caring manner. Many other helping professions emphasize the role of empathy and compassion in treatment delivery but they are rarely emphasized in behavior analytic training. Skinner viewed the purpose of the science of behavior to influence society to be based more on positive reinforcement and less on aversive control, leading to a more peaceful and caring world. This presentation will tie together contributions from Skinner’s work, the BACB® ethical guidelines, and behavior analytic research on increasing happiness in individuals with developmental disabilities, with the goal of discussing potential future directions for research and practice in ABA that aims to increase kindness and compassion throughout the ABA assessment, treatment, parent training, and staff management process.
- Attendees will be able to identify three common practices in applied behavior analysis that may sometimes be viewed as cold or uncaring by the community
- Attendees will be able to identify the ABA treatment process can be delivered with greater kindness, without sacrificing scientific rigor
- Attendees will be able to identify two directions for potential research or practice that involve modifications to common procedures, in order to make those procedures more kind