From the beginning of recorded time human beings have assigned blame to persons who misbehave. The first prominent person to make an alternative case was Father Edward J. Flanagan, the founder of Boys Town, who proclaimed there was “no such thing as a bad boy, only bad environment, bad modeling, and bad teaching” (Oursler & Oursler, 1949, p. 7) in other words, bad circumstances. This paper will refer to this perspective as the Circumstances View of problem behavior and anchor it as the foundational idea for the field of behavior analysis. This paper will discuss the origins of the Circumstances View, the benefits that result from its adoption, reasons why its adoption is not more widespread, and suggestions for disseminating it more widely.
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- Describe the history of Boys Town, Nebraska
- Define the Circumstances View of behavior
- Describe the sources of problem behavior from the Circumstances View
- Describe barriers to advocating for the Circumstances View
- Describe recommendations for extending the Circumstances View
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