The many faces of applied behavior analysis
The rapidly growing discipline of applied behavior analysis relies on specific techniques to bring about behavioral changes in an individual’s life. It is, literally, the applied form of traditional behavior analysis—seeking to use the systematic collection and analysis of behavioral data to guide appropriate interventions that will actually affect behavior.
While applied behavior analysis receives the most attention for its use in helping those with autism and developmental disabilities (ex. Harvard psychologist Dr. Mike Mozzoni’s “Big Six Plus Six” to help a patient dress himself), it may surprise you to know some of the other ways you can apply knowledge from an applied behavior analysis program.
Many coaches and athletes rely on instinct when competing, but applying a scientific approach to assist with performance can go a long way. Multiple studies have shown that an athlete or team’s performance can be enhanced when implementing certain ABA techniques during practice or training. Some of these techniques include:
- Positive reinforcement for proper execution
- Stimulus training and consistent feedback
- Outlining public performance objectives
Organizational behavior management (OBM)
Organizational behavior management is an application of applied behavior analysis that seeks to help organizational leaders understand why members or teams within their organization may act a certain way. Based on these understandings, leaders are able to enact practical solutions that focus on methods to potentially improve performance.
Some examples of how it’s used in the workplace may include:
- Improving the telephone courtesy of customer service staff
- Reducing absenteeism
- Improving time management
- Reducing medical errors
- Reducing waste and rejects in manufacturing
Applied behavior analysis can improve impulse control in pathological gamblers, or those suffering from drug and alcohol substance abuse. These are seen as behavioral addictions and often result from the biochemical reward our brain produces when partaking in these behaviors.
One ABA technique used to combat addictive behavior is to include activity scheduling. This ABA technique consists of teaching the addict to maintain a tight schedule in order to limit downtime during their day. Without the free time, there is less opportunity for them to compulsively feed their addiction.
Weight loss programs
People often look for a quick fix when trying to lose weight. But you can adjust what you eat all you want; in the end, it is adjusting your actual behavior that will help shed the pounds and keep them from coming back.
Many popular weight-loss regimens are built on applied behavior analysis techniques that incorporate strict routines and meticulous record keeping. By maintaining records, those seeking to lose weight are holding themselves accountable and able to visibly see their success, further reinforcing the positive behavior.
Interested in learning more about The Chicago School’s Applied Behavior Analysis programs? Check out our Applied Behavior Analysis program page or fill out the form below to request more information.
Blake C. Pinto
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