Barbara Etzel was an influential leader in ABA and is described as being a scientific and conscientious problem solver and genuine helper. Her students recall that she taught them “the key to solving problems was understanding stimulus control, contingencies of reinforcement, and parsimony. Above all, parsimony.” Explain your understanding of these concepts and why they are critical to solving behavior problems.
Sandra Harris is another pioneer who was not afraid to voice an alternative viewpoint. Her mantra was, “Let the data speak,” advocating for continuing to use procedures that work and altering our procedures and using a modified or new approach when our procedures fail to work.
Describe the importance of such elasticity and the importance of “letting the data speak,” citing your own work if applicable (e.g., have you encountered a situation in which your data told you one thing but you continued to implement a potentially non-effective intervention?).
Thomas Zane describes that Beth Sulzer-Azaroff’s students learned from Beth the analysis of behavior analysis, flexibility in thinking and application, and a wide view of application. She taught students that to analyze situations, one must first stay conceptually consistent with the principles of our science and field, and second, think outside the box. Describe the application of ABA beyond autism and developmental disabilities, as Dr. Sulzer-Azaroff advocated for it. How does her advice apply in the context of the application of ABA to wider populations and settings?