Title

On the origin and functions of the term functional analysis

Document Type

Article

Publication Title

Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis

Department

Psychology

ISSN

0021-8855

Volume

46

Issue

1

DOI

10.1002/jaba.6

First Page

285

Last Page

288

Publication Date

Spring 2013

Abstract

In this essay, we note that although Iwata, Dorsey, Slifer, Bauman, and Richman (1982) established the standard framework for conducting functional analyses of problem behavior, the term functional analysis was probably first used in behavior analysis by B. F. Skinner in 1948. We also remind readers that a functional analysis is really an experimental analysis, words that were contained in the title of Skinner's first book, The Behavior of Organisms: An Experimental Analysis (1938). We further describe how Skinner initially applied the concept of functional analysis to an understanding of verbal behavior, and we suggest that the same tactic be applied to the verbal behavior of behavior analysts, in the present case, to the term functional analysis.