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This section contains a listing of all behaviors that may be treated by a behavior analyst.

It is organized into two broad categories

1. Challenging Behavior: This is defined as behaviors generally considered undesirable and thus often targeted for reduction and or elimination.

2. Desirable Behavior: This is defined as behaviors that are generally considered adaptive and thus are often targeted for increase or to be established.

It should be noted that any adaptive behavior occurring to frequently or at inappropriate times may be targeted for reduction, and some problem behaviors in one circumstance or condition may be considered adaptive or positive in other conditions.

In some cases more than one term may be used to describe a particular behavior,  or a term commonly used (though not  adequately technical from a behavior analytic perspective) may be listed.  Typically in these cases the page will refer the reader to a more technically accurate or preferred term.


Some Definitions of Behavior:

1. The movement of an organism or of its parts in a frame of reference provided by the organism or by various external objects or fields (Skinner, 1938)

2. The behavior of an organism is that portion of the organism’s interaction with its environment that is characterized by detectable displacements in space through time of some part of the organism and that results in a measurable change in at least one aspect of the environment. (Johnson & Pennypacker, 1980)

3. Anything the organism does that can be measured (Reber, 1995)


Issues for consideration:

The term “behavior” is often used as a description of a class or category (e.g., hitting,  kicking) and the term “response”  is often used to refer to a single (specific) occurrence of the behavior.   So when collect behavioral data,  if we are collecting frequency data, we may be counting the number of “responses” (how many times) the “behavior” of hitting occurred.

A common yet inaccurate use of the term behavior is its usage to refer only to “problem” behavior.  For example referring to a client who engages in problem behavior as “having behaviors”.  A  behavior analyst should seek to avoid this pejorative use  and refer to all behavior (adaptive and problematic) as behavior.

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