Irish Society for Behaviour Analysis

Behavioural science is concerned with the behaviour of all things. How do our hunger levels influence our shopping behaviours? How do we organise workplaces to promote positivity, growth and productivity for people? How do structures within society interact to produce change? How do we arrange our classrooms and teaching approaches to support all learners? These questions all form part of the focus of behavioural science. Behavioural science focuses on how the environment is arranged and how our interactions with the environment impact what we learn, do, think and feel. The experiences we have, repeated over time, select how we interact with our environment, what choices we make, and how we act in different situations.

Behavioural science has a strong evidence base, gained over many decades, that provides us with a comprehensive understanding of the predictable manner in which learning and behaviour develops, and changes, over the span of a lifetime, and across generations, through interactions with the environment. This evidence base gives us confidence in how we approach understanding behaviour and developing systems that create optimal environments for development and growth .

Applied Behaviour Analysis is the area of behavioural science concerned with how we use this knowledge to make the world better; in essence, it is an application of the science. Applied Behaviour Analysis seeks to empower communities by supporting evidence-based policy and providing evidenced based solutions to the challenges and concerns of people and society. This focus gives Applied Behaviour Analysis a wide lens in terms of applications. While often associated with its use in the disability services sector,   applications of behaviour analysis include, but are not limited to, climate change, sports performance, gerontology, organisational behaviour management, disability services, teaching and learning in higher education, education and care in the early years, primary, secondary and special education, workplace safety, self-management, health behaviours,  mental health issues (e.g. anxiety, depression, addiction), user engagement with digital products and artificial intelligence. 

Applied Behaviour Analysis is not a ‘thing’, it is not an educational programme, it is not a curriculum, it is not a therapy or methodology, and it is not a set of rules or sanctions. Applied Behaviour Analysis is composed of all applications of behavioural science, and different applications present in different ways with different content in different contexts. All applications of behaviour analysis, as with all applications of science, should be implemented within strong human rights and ethical frameworks.