The Behavior Analyst

, Volume 11, Issue 2, pp 149–157 | Cite as

The Development and Adoption of Controversial Default Technologies

  • Brian A. Iwata


Default technologies evolve from failure. Within the realm of human behavior, technologies based on the use of aversive contingencies can be conceptualized as default technologies because they come into play when natural contingencies or positive reinforcement fail to produce a desired behavioral outcome. Historical as well as contemporary events suggest that it is a mistake for behavior analysts to advocate for the adoption of aversive technologies. We must, however, continue to play a leading role in the development of such technologies so that they will be used in an appropriate manner. Furthermore, the eventual elimination of aversive technologies will be possible only through continued, careful, and experimental analysis of the contexts of failure in which they are born.


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Copyright information

© Association for Behavior Analysis International 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Brian A. Iwata
    • 1
  1. 1.Psychology DepartmentUniversity of FloridaGainesvilleUSA

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