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The Many Meanings of Behavioural Technology




(Summary of results of a webtrawl for meanings)

Punching Behavioural Technology into a search engine produces the usual wide variety of meanings.  For example the term is used in connection with the inanimate, such as Glass Material Behavioural Technology in a course on the art of glass blowing. It is also used when some form of apparatus, often electronic, is used in research into human behaviour - for example the electromyograph used in speech research is deemed to justify the addition of the word Technology to Behavioural.  In the field of road safety Behavioural Technology is used to distinguish user behaviour from what are called passive approaches to safer motoring, such as highway engineering.

The most widespread use of Behavioural Technology occurs when techniques derived from the behavioural sciences are applied to attitude, behaviour and skill modification in such fields as personnel management, education generally and school discipline in particular, health education, the treatment of the mentally ill and mentally handicapped and the social development of adolescents.  The behavioural science source of such behavioural technology is considered to have changed from behaviourism as its shortcomings became apparent.  Cognitive psychology is now thought to be the most common behavioural science source in some fields of application.

A paper on the relationships of basic research and applied work in psychology contains a close and detailed taxonomic argument leading towards the development of a "true behavioural technology".  It is regrettable that such effort and erudition has been devoted to finding an unattainable "truth" while 'out there' many behavioural practices of great importance remain uncharted.

The term Behavioural Technology has been used in connection with studies of behaviour in situ. For example, in the prison service it is the approach to monitoring behaviour within activities and routines of prison inmates and as a normative measure of non-psychological skills, rather than the application of psychology as such.



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