Functional Analysis

In 1953, B. F. Skinner implicitly introduced the construct of a functional analysis of behavior by positing a causal chain consisting of an operation performed on the organism, a behavioral response by the organism, and some kind of stimulus that follows the behavior that affects the likelihood of the previous behavior being exhibited under the same or similar conditions. This way of construing behavior implied a notion of causality for a particular behavior. Functional analysis refers to a variety of ways of attempting to identify the causes of behavior with the goals of predicting, and controlling it once a proper understanding of the controlling variables occurs. Though Skinner speculated about a variety of complex human behaviors taking place in the natural environment, most ...

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