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How Can We Increase the Impact of Behavior Analysis in Solving Problems in New Areas? (Ron Van Houten)

Behavior analysis is a powerful tool that could ameliorate many of society’s problems. One of the first problems that was seriously addressed with a behavior analytic approach was the treatment of autism. Although a behavioral approach yielded promising results from the start, it took many years before the behavioral approach was accepted as the treatment of choice for autism. Although promising data have also been obtained from applications of behavioral technology to many other social problems, these applications have not yet been widely accepted or disseminated. Skinner envisioned behavior analysis as a technology that would address a wide variety of societal challenges. Initially behavior analysts were highly enthusiastic about society adopting our approach in areas such as education, but many people already working in these fields were resistant to a behavioral approach. This presentation examines a number of areas where behavior analysis could make a difference, and explore ways to overcome obstacles and accelerate the acceptance of our approach.
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Ronald Van Houten, Ph.D.
Presented at the 2016 Michigan Autism Conference
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