BABS' Philosophy and Theory
By: Abby Twyman | September 29, 2019
The Philosophical Underpinnings of Behavioral Science
The six main underpinnings of behavioral science are that (1) the universe is a lawful and orderly place in which all phenomena occur as the result of other events (i.e. determinism), (2) we must make objective, rather than subjective, observations of the phenomena of interest and they must be verifiable (i.e. empiricism), (3) the most clear and concise explanations must be ruled out before attributing change to more complex explanations requiring unverifiable assumptions (i.e. parsimony), (4) taking a practical approach to addressing problems is recommended to ensure the solution is implemented accurately and reliably (i.e. pragmatic), (5) behavior can be impacted by three factors: genetics, education, and culture (i.e. phylogenic, ontogenic, and cultural selectionism), and (6) it's essential to question everything you think you know and not to settle for the status quo - there are still discoveries being made every day and our current theories about everything are likely to be proven incomplete one day so be open to learning and integrating new information into your beliefs (i.e. philosophical doubt).
Addressing Real-World Issues with Behavioral Science
In the late 1960s, researchers began to clarify how they envisioned the science of human behavior and learning, which they had been studying for years, was going to be used in the real world. Donald Baer, Montrose Wolf, and Todd Risley (1968) were the first to define what Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) was and how it could be used to address the problems we face in our society. They argued that professionals should (1) only apply the science of behavior and learning to socially significant problems, (2) operationally define the behaviors of interest in a clear and concise manner, (3) make decisions which are based on an analysis of reliable data, (4) describe the application procedures in a way that is easy to understand for all involved stakeholders, (5) only implement procedures which are based on lessons learned from peer-reviewed research on behavior and learning, (6) choose intervention procedures which are most likely to produce effective and efficient change, and (7) ensure the changes made are generalized across contexts and maintained over time.
Firm Adherence to a No-Nonsense Code of Conduct
My personal code of conduct is to always "Strive to THRIVE", which means that I work hard every day to (1) be Trustworthy, Honest, Respectful, and Inspiring in my thoughts, words, and actions, (2) allow my Values to drive my behavior, and (3) remain fully Engaged in the present moment. Additionally, I strive to firmly adhere in all aspects of my life to the Professional and Ethical Code of Conduct for Behavior Analysts which provides a no-nonsense guide to the behaviors expected to be demonstrated by practicing behavior analysts. By making my decisions with these Codes as my guide, I'm more confident that my thoughts, words, and actions will align with my values.
A Bad-Ass Behavioral Scientist's Theory
My theory is that once all of humankind learns to use the inherent psychological flexibility and mental efficiency skills they were born with, thereby unlocking the chains which bind their hearts, they will finally be able to live lives filled with love, joy, and peace. The actions I’m willing to engage in to bring this theory to reality in my life, and the lives of those I love, are to:
- Model these skills in every thought, word, and action.
- Share my experiences through my story.
- Provide access to essential information.
- Teach all those motivated to learn more.
- Celebrate small successes of myself and others.
- Encourage everyone to join the movement.
- Be grateful for every breath I take, every sight I see, every aroma I smell, every morsel I taste, every sound I hear, and every emotion I feel because yesterday is gone and tomorrow is not a given.
- Be here, now, in the moment, living, loving, breathing, being, connecting, inspiring, empowering, embracing, and THRIVING!!
If you're interested in learning more about how the science of behavior and learning can be applied in your own life to effectively and efficiently produce positive change, please consider joining our community and participating in our courses. We're on a mission to create a more peaceful world through the systematic application of behavioral science, and a portion of all revenue from course sales goes to building our Alaskan Oasis and developing the Warrior Club afterschool program!