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Behavioral engineering is intended to identify issues associated with the interface of technology and the human operators in a system and to generate recommended design practices that consider the strengths and limitations of the human operators.
"The behavior of the individual has been shaped according to revelations of 'good conduct' never as the result of experimental study."
Watson wrote in 1924 "Behaviorism ... holds that the subject matter of human psychology is the behavior of the human being. Behaviorism claims that consciousness is neither a definite nor a usable concept."
This approach is often used in organizational behavior management, which is behavior analysis applied to organizations and behavioral community psychology.
Success of approach
Behavioral engineering has been used to increase safety in organizations (see Behavior-based safety). Other areas include performance in organization and lessening problems in prison. In addition, it has had some success in social service systems, understanding the long term effects of humans in space and developing the human landscape, understanding political behavior in organizations, and understanding how organizations function.
In the school system behavioral engineering has inspired two programs of behavior management based on the principles of applied behavior analysis in a social learning format. Programs were successful in reducing disruption in children with conduct disorders, as well as improving their academic achievement. The programs show good maintenance and generalization of treatment effects when the child was returned to the natural classroom. In addition, the programs were successfully replicated. Behavior analytic programs continued to function to control truancy and reduce delinquency.
The journal Behavioral Engineering was published from 1973–1985. Many of the topics of behavioral engineering are now covered in the journal Behavior and Social Issues and The Behavior Analyst Today.
- Applied behavior analysis
- Behaviour therapy
- Behavior modification
- Behavior management
- Professional practice of behavior analysis
- Watson, J.B. (1924) Behaviorism
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- Walker, H.M. & Buckley, N. (1974). Token reinforcement techniques: Classroom applications for the hard to teach child. Eugene, OR: E-B Press
- Walker, H.M., Hops, H., & Greenwood, C. (1984). The CORBETH research and development model: Programmatic issues and strategies. In S. Paine, G.T. Bellamy, & B. Cilcox (Eds.), Human services that work (pp. 57–78). Baltimoire: Paul H. Brookes.
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- Hops, H., Walker, H.M., Fleischman, D., Nagoshi, J., Omura, R., Skinrud, K., & Taylor, J. (1978). CLASS: A standardized in-class program for acting out children: Field test evaluation. Journal of Educational Psychology, 70 (4), 636–644.
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