Ethical implications of behavior modification: Historical and current issues

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Abstract

A number of social factors are combining to raise the profile of ethical issues for behavior analysts and behavior-modification professionals, as for all psychologists. Some popular misconceptions have led to behavior modification being seen as coercive. These misconceptions are rebutted, and the ethical basis of behavior modification in behavioral analysis is examined. The key features of contemporary behavioral analysis and behavior modification are the public specification of objectives and methods, and the use of functional analysis. However, current problems with functional analysis may make the use of higher order principles such as professional codes of ethics appropriate. Ethical concerns raised by the particular examples of social validity measures and parent training programs are reviewed. These emphasize the importance of putting behavior modification into its social context and thus ensuring that the Values of the wider community are acknowledged.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)637-648
JournalThe Psychological Record
Volume47
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1997

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