Applied Behavior Analysis is the science of human behavior. The best definition available is still the one written about in 1968 by Baer, Wolf, & Risley:
“Applied Behavior Analysis is the process of systematically applying interventions based upon the principles of learning theory to improve socially significant behaviors to a meaningful degree, and to demonstrate that the interventions employed are responsible for the improvement in behavior“
Specifically, Applied Behavior Analysis involves the principles of learning theory. That is, the contingent use of reinforcement and other important principles to increase behaviors, generalize learned behaviors or reduce undesirable behaviors is fundamental to ABA.
ABA has been used to help individuals acquire many different skills, such as language skills, self-help skills, and play skills; in addition, these principles can help to decrease maladaptive behaviors such as aggression, self-stimulatory behaviors, and self-injury.