Behavioral engineering

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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."[1]

This approach is often used in organizational behavior management, which is behavior analysis applied to organizations and behavioral community psychology.

Success of approach[edit]

Behavioral engineering has been used to increase safety in organizations (see Behavior-based safety).[2][3][4][5][6][7][8][9] Other areas include performance in organization[10] and lessening problems in prison.[11] In addition, it has had some success in social service systems,[12] understanding the long-term effects of humans in space[13] and developing the human landscape,[14][15] understanding political behavior in organizations,[16] and understanding how organizations function.[17]

It has also been successful in helping individuals to set goals[18] and manage pay systems.[19] Behavioral engineering has also been applied to social welfare policy.[20]

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.[21][22][23] 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.[24] In addition, the programs were successfully replicated.[25][26][23][21][22][27] Behavior analytic programs continued to function to control truancy and reduce delinquency.[28]

The journal Behavioral Engineering was published from 1973–1985. Many of the topics of behavioral engineering are now covered in the journals Behavior and Social Issues, The Behavior Analyst and the Journal of Organizational Behavior Management.

Related topics[edit]


  1. ^ Watson, J.B. (1924) Behaviorism
  2. ^ Alavosius, M.P., & Sulzer-Azaroff, B. (1985) An on-the-job method to evaluate patient lifting techniques. Applied Ergonomics, 16 (4), pp. 307–311.
  3. ^ Alavosius, M.P., & Sulzer-Azaroff, B. (1990) Acquisition and maintenance of health care routines as a function of feedback density. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 23, pp. 151–162
  4. ^ Austin, J., Kessler, M.L., Riccobono, J.E., & Bailey, J.S. (1996) Using feedback and reinforcement to improve the performance and safety of a roofing crew. Journal of Organizational Behavior Management, 16 (2), pp. 49–75.
  5. ^ Babcock, R., Sulzer, Azaroff, B., Sanderson, M., & Scibek, J. (1992) Increasing nurses' use of feedback to promote infection control practices in a head injury treatment center. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 25, pp. 621–627.
  6. ^ Balcazar F., Hopkins, B.L., & Suarez, Y. (1986) A critical objective review of performance feedback. Journal of Organizational Behavior Management, 7, pp. 65–89.
  7. ^ DeVries J.E., Burnette M.M., & Redirion, W.K. (1991) AIDS: Improving nurses' compliance with glove wearing through performance feedback. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 24 pp. 705–711.
  8. ^ Fitch, H.G., Herman, J., & Hopkins, B.L. (1976) Safe and unsafe behavior and its modification Journal of Occupational Medicine, 18 pp. 618–622.
  9. ^ Geller, E.S. (2001) Behavioral Safety: Meeting the Challenge of Making a Large-Scale Difference. The Behavior Analyst Today, 2 (2), 64–79 BAO
  10. ^ Houmanfar, Herbst, & Chase: (2003) Organizational Change Applications in Behavior Analysis: A Review of the Literature and Future Directions. The Behavior Analyst Today, 4 (1), 59–71 BAO
  11. ^ Webb: (2003) Building Constructive Prison Environments: The Functional Utility of Applying Behavior Analysis in Prisons. The Behavior Analyst Today, 4 (1), 71–79 BAO
  12. ^ Cautilli, J.D. & Clarke, K. (2000) What Does Organizational Behavior Management Have to Offer Social Service Organizations? An OBM Primer for ABA'ers. The Behavior Analyst Today, 1 (1), 5–13. BAO
  13. ^ Brady, J.V. (1992) Continuously Programmed Environments and the Experimental Analysis of Human Behavior. Cambridge, MA: Cambridge Center For Behavioral Studies.
  14. ^ Noron, W. (2001). Initiating an Affair Human Geography and Behavior Analysis. The Behavior Analyst Today, 2 (4), 283–287 [1]
  15. ^ Norton (2002) Explaining Landscape Change: Group Identity and Behavior. The Behavior Analyst Today, 3 (2), 155–260 BAO
  16. ^ Goltz, S.M. (2003). Considering Political Behavior in Organizations. The Behavior Analyst Today, 4 (3), 354–365 BAO
  17. ^ Brethower, D.M. (2004). Understanding Behavior of Organizations To Improve Behavior in Organizations. The Behavior Analyst Today, 5 (2), 170–176 BAO
  18. ^ Fellner, D.J., & Sulzer-Azaroff, B. (1984) A behavioral analysis of goal setting. Journal of Organizational Behavior Management, 6 pp. 33–51.
  19. ^ Abernathy, W.B. (2001) Focused vs. Consolidated Measures In Performance Pay Systems. The Behavior Analyst Today, 3 (1), 7–21 BAO
  20. ^ Nackerud, L., Waller, R.J., Waller, K., & Thyer, B.A. (1997). Behavior analysis and social welfare policy: The example of aid to families with dependent children (AFDC). In P.A. Lamal (Ed.). Cultural contingencies: Behavior analytic perspectives on cultural practices (pp. 169–184). Westport, CT: Greenwood.
  21. ^ a b Walker, H.M. & Buckley, N. (1972). Programming generalization and maintenance of treatment effects across time and setting. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 5, 209–224.
  22. ^ a b Walker, H.M. & Buckley, N. (1974). Token reinforcement techniques: Classroom applications for the hard to teach child. Eugene, OR: E-B Press
  23. ^ a b 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.
  24. ^ Walker, H.M., Hops, H., & Johnson, S.M. (1975). Generalization and maintenance of classroom treatment effects. Behavior Therapy, 6, 188–200.
  25. ^ 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.
  26. ^ O'Connor, P., Struck, G., & Wyne, M.(1979). Effects of short-termed intervention resource-room program on task orientation and achievement. Journal of Special Education, 13 (4), 375–385.
  27. ^ Walker, H.M., Hops, H., & Fiegenbaum, E. (1976). Deviant classroom behavior as a function of combinations of social and token reinforcement and cost contingency. Behavior Therapy, 7, 76–88.
  28. ^ Stumphauzer, J.S.(1985). School Programs: Staying in School and Learning to Learn. Child and Youth Services, v8 n1–2 pp. 137–46