"This book is about behavior analysis. In simple terms, behavior analysis seeks to understand what individuals do and under what circumstances they typically do it. Behavior analysts believe that if we can better understand why behavior takes place, then we can better manage our own lives and more usefully contribute to the lives of others, so that we all can achieve our full potential as humans.
This book examines a series of important topics that are traditionally thought to belong to psychology, but treats them differently from a traditional viewpoint. By so doing, this book suggests that we can arrive at a new, different, and ultimately more helpful understanding of these topics. For instance, the discipline of psychology is traditionally defined as a science of behavior and the mental processes that cause behavior. A common misunderstanding that comes from this definition is that only psychology has anything important to say about the uniquely personal phenomena in our lives, such as language, the self, consciousness, knowledge, perception, purpose, belief, emotions, ethics, and values. These phenomena are regarded as belonging to the mental domain, rather than the behavioral domain. As a result, the analysis of these phenomena is thought to require a different approach than the analysis of behavior. In contrast to the traditional viewpoint, this books takes the position that such phenomena have always referred to behavioral matters. Accordingly, each chapter of this book reviews and analyzes one of these topics from a behavioral point of view, so that we may come to a new understanding of its relevance in our lives." (Chapter 1 Introduction).