Sunday, March 4, 2007

The first issue of the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis (JABA) set the stage for Applied Behavior Analysis' (ABA's) long-term, highly-unethical behavior.

[Edit note April 28, 2017: I retain this post. I was calling ABA science then. It wasn't until much later that a reader critique of the original ABA-is-a cult-of-science led me to see how ABA is a pseudoscience masquerading as science. At this date, and up until 2014, after having believed Skinner and his followers, naïvely for seven blind years that they could be ethical if only they followed Skinner's warnings against punishment. Eventually, I came to see the hypocrite in each of them, especially Skinner, when in 2017 we see for certain that Skinner only opposed punitive coercion upon whom he called "normal" people. The others, disabled people especially, were "beyond" the reach of reinforcers only, as Skinner actually said and as Skinner actually led. I retain this post for historical and developmental purposes over the development of my findings, from blinded by the misrepresentations, subtle and obvious, out from the cave of darkness where the light to #NoABA, other ways instead, shines big and bright. A cursory read today makes it appear that this post, technically, helped me develop my Behavioral Prowess under which I learned to speak their language and stand up to them and see right through them as they spoke their jargon to parents and the media, all full of nonsense and doublespeak which the laymen don't get until they know what they're talking about, technically.]

Image used without objection from an editor of the Society for the Experimental Analysis of Behavior

I’m reading the first issue of the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis (Wolf, 1968) with Skinner and his followers. It contains some of the earlier applications of behavioral principles to people. I suspect that the subjects' consent was often not obtained when human applications began.

Those in this issue who probably did not consent to a course of treatment included an autistic girl whom they shook for rocking her own body, psychiatric patients “required” to sample reinforcers to make sure they cashed in their tokens. For example, Risley (1968, p. 31) said, “The experimenter shouted ‘Stop that!’ seized (the girl) by the upper arms, and shook her whenever she began rocking. He would wait until her eyes were closed or fixed on her hand before abruptly shouting and shaking her. This event invariably produced a 'startle reflex' and flushing in (the girl).” In his earlier animal experiments, Skinner didn’t ask the rats if they wanted to go hungry, be put in a box, and made to pull levers to get little pieces of grain.


Risley, T. R. (1968). The effects and side effects of punishing the autistic behaviors of a deviant child [Electronic version]. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 1, 21-34. Retrieved April 19, 2007 from U.S. National Institutes of Health PubMed Central database Web site:

Wolf, M. M. (Ed.). (1968) [Electronic Version]. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 1. Retrieved April 19, 2007 from U.S. National Institutes of Health PubMed Central database Web site:

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I am an advocate for people with disabilities certified to teach special education with a Master of Arts in Teaching. I am not a Licensed Psychologist or a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. When in doubt, seek the advice of an MD, a PhD, or a BCBA. My ability to analyze the ethics of ABA stems from the fact that I am disabled and ABA interventions are often done to people like me, which I voluntarily accept, but only when I alone am the person granting consent, and not a parent, sibling, guardian, or institution.