Applied behavior analysis (ABA) is a scientific approach to understanding and changing behavior. As an applied science, its adherents seek to understand and improve socially significant behavior, while showing reliable relationships between the environment and behavior (including relationships between treatment and behavior), using objective description, quantification, and experimental investigation. ABA can be distinguished from the experimental analysis of behavior (EAB), which studies learning but does not address socially significant behavior. For example, an EAB study might teach undergraduate psychology students to classify arbitrary visual patterns, whereas ABA might help a teacher learn how to teach a child with intellectual disabilities to discriminate shapes and numbers in classrooms.

ABA is often used as an intervention with children with intellectual and developmental disabilities and has become especially common ...

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