Definitions

behavioral psychology

Functional analysis (psychology)

Functional analysis in behavioral psychology is the application of the laws of operant conditioning to establish the relationships between stimuli and responses. To establish the function of a behavior, one typically examines the "three-term contingency": identifying the antecedent or trigger of the behavior, identifying the behavior itself as it has been operationalized, and identifying the consequence of the behavior which continues to maintain it.

Applications in Clinical Psychology

Functional analysis and consequence analysis are commonly used in certain types of psychotherapy to better understand and in some cases change behavior. It is particularly common in behavioral therapies such as Behavioral Activation, although it is also part of Aaron Beck's Cognitive Therapy.

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