Thank you for joining me here.
If you have clicked on this page then the chances are that you are wondering what this blog is all about. It’s my little piece of the internet which I use to talk about psychology. In particular, I am really passionate about an approach to explaining and changing behaviour. This approach has a behaviourist perspective and it’s called (Applied) Behaviour Analysis. I enjoy writing here to raise awareness of this undervalued psychological perspective. But psychology is a broad subject, so you are bound to find a few different topics here too (just to keep things exciting!).
But before I explain how this blog came about, I want us all to be on the same page. So here is a quick overview of the “behaviour babble” AKA the psychology jargon that will crop up on this blog.
First things first. What is a psychological approach?
There are several different approaches within the field of psychology today (behaviourist, cognitive, developmental, psychodynamic and evolutionary, to name a few of the main ones). All of these approaches have different points of view about human behaviour. Within each approach, there is a specific set of assumptions which guide the way in which they study behaviour. These beliefs, or assumptions, are what makes each perspective distinct and identifiable from each other. So the behaviourist perspective will have a different set of assumptions about how to study behaviour than other approaches, like the psychodynamic approach.
I like to view the psychological approaches as a set of different hats. They all have there own unique qualities and some will naturally appeal to you more than others. But no matter which one you pick, it is wise not to stick exclusively with the same old hat 100% of the time.
It is up to you to decide for yourself which psychological approaches you identify with and focus on. However, I believe that it is important to know as much as you can about all of the approaches. Even if you do not agree with a certain psychological perspective, there is always something to be learned from it if you look at it with an open mind.
What is Behaviourism?
The psychological approach which I tend to favour (and the hat which I wear the most often!) is the behaviourist perspective. Behaviourism has evolved over the years since it was first created and as such it has different variations. But in a nutshell, behaviourist assumptions are..
- Behaviour is determined and selected by the environment
This is the assumption which immediately identifies behaviourism as different from other psychological approaches. Originally, behaviourists believed that people were born with a mind that was a completely blank slate (tabula rasa). However, more modern behaviourist ideas have come to accept the role that genetics and biology play in shaping our behaviour. But we still believe that the environment has a major influence on our behaviour!
- Psychology is a science.
We need to study behaviour in a carefully considered and objective way. This involves conducting controlled research experiments, to determine what specific factors cause a particular response to occur. In other words, we do not create our ideas about behaviour from thin air. Instead, we rigorously test them to prove that they are consistent and valid. Skinner (often seen as the grandfather and creator of behaviourism) viewed behaviourism as the philosophy of the science of behaviour.
- We tend to focus on observable behaviour, rather than internal events like thinking.
This is because observable behaviour is easy to measure and therefore, it can be clearly studied in a scientific manner. After all, it makes more sense to define the cause and effect of behaviour when you can see (with your own eyes!) what changes are occurring. But (and this is where things can get confusing) some behaviourists take the view that we should study all behaviour and this includes the study of private events like thoughts and emotions. We have made great progress in this area of research recently. Check out Relational Frame Theory and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) for some real life applications.
Want to learn more? Simply Psychology has written a beautifully in depth article about it here.
Okay, so what is Applied Behaviour Analysis or ABA?
In short, behaviour analysis takes the view that most behaviour is learned and we can apply these scientifically validated techniques to bring about behaviour change that makes a significant difference to the lives of individuals (ABA). ABA is popular as an intervention for people with developmental disabilities, but it also has applications in business, classroom management and animal behaviour to name a few. Intrigued? You can read my quick guide to behaviour analysis here.
Why did you start a blog about Psychology and Behaviour Analysis?
When I first began learning about psychology, I was young, naive and had just started college. But there was something about psychology that really connected with me. I was instantly inspired and I haven’t really stopped since then!
In 2015 I completed a masters degree in Applied Behaviour Analysis. It is now my passion to share my ideas about behavioural psychology and spread the word about this amazing approach to behaviour change. If more people knew about it, then maybe we could use it to solve problems in a way that we never thought possible. And so this blog was born!
I am serious about psychology, but I try not to take myself too seriously!
Who should be reading this blog?
Anyone who is interested in finding out more about themselves and their behaviour!
Why we behave in the way that we do? What influences our responses in any given situation? How can I change my habits for the better?
The answers to these questions and more are hopefully all here (and if they’re not then there’s a pretty good chance that I’m writing a draft about them as you read this!)
Why the name ‘Behaviour Babble’?
Because this blog is my space to share my enthusiasm for behavioural psychology with you lovely people!
I chose the name Behaviour Babble because behavioural psychology tends to use a LOT of jargon, which can be confusing to understand at times (I’m looking at you negative and positive reinforcement!). It is my aim for this blog to be a place to help debunk the jargon and explain some of the key terms in a way that anyone can understand and relate to.
I also chose the word ‘Babble’ because I recognise I am still learning and I think that behaviour analysis needs a voice which is a bit more informal and relatable than most.
Who is the girl behind Behaviour Babble?
I’m a 20 something girl living in the UK who just so happened to become interested in psychology. At the moment I am training to become an A-level psychology teacher (which isn’t too surprising, given my obvious interest in the subject!). Aside from blogging in my spare time, I also love guinea pigs, watching Studio Ghibli films, baking unusual things and travelling to explore new cities.
Where can I find out more about Behaviour Analysis? Where do you get your inspiration from?
If you’re just starting to get to know behaviour analysis then make sure you check out this great book “How to Think Like a Behavior Analyst” by Dr. Jon Bailey and Dr. Mary Burch. It answers all of your ABA questions in a Q&A style format and includes fun chapter titles such as “Isn’t a behaviour analyst just a super nanny with a British accent?”!
If you want to know everything there is to know about behaviour analysis then the best place to start is the book by Cooper, Heron and Heward, simply titled “Applied Behaviour Analysis”. Be warned though, this book is not for the faint of heart! It is an extremely useful but extremely detailed read.
What other blogs do you recommend?
My favourite psychology/ABA blogs which I love to catch up on are..
And my favourite general blog, which I think is a must read is Zen Habits. Why? Because this guy gave me the motivation to finally start this blog! Read it if you are interested in learning practical tips for improving your life one step at a time.