Letter to the Editor: One Perspective on Diversity in ABA

  • Natasha BeeneEmail author
Special Section: Diversity and Inclusion


Our profession of applied behavior analysis is lacking in the area of diversity. We cannot overestimate the importance of perspective when dealing with the issue of diversity. What tools does one use to evaluate another person after meeting the person for the first time? How much of what you “know” about a person is based on the labels you have assigned to him or her? Can your response to meeting someone for the first time be better conceptualized as rule-governed behavior (in other words, verbal generalizations, as opposed to tacts based on previous experience with that person individually)? If your answers to these questions involve behavior that is both contingency shaped and rule governed, then as behavior analysts, we would seem to have an opportunity to affect this behavior in a positive way. If our applied science is to be useful and truly comprehensive, this must be equally true of our behavior surrounding diversity. This letter to the editor includes personal experiences and practical actions we can take to move the needle on diversity (in our field) in the right direction. There is much work to be done, but I am convinced that the science of behavior analysis can provide us with the knowledge and determination to do it.


Diversity Rule-governed behavior Contingency shaped behavior Tacts Applied science Useful and comprehensive science ABA Generalization 



Funding information is not applicable. No funding was received.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The author declares that she has no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by the author.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was not necessary. No participants were included in the study.


  1. Rehfeldt, R. A., Houmanfar, R., Dixon, M., Hayes, S. C., & Tarbox, J. (2018). Panel discussion on diversity in behavior analysis. Panel discussion presented at the Acceptance and Commitment Training Boot Camp for Behavior Analysts, Reno, NV, June 2019.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Association for Behavior Analysis International 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Children’s Behavior Therapy, Inc.MiamiUSA

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