Martin, A. L. 2017. Theprimatologist as a behavioral engineer. American Journal of Primatology 79, e22500.
The field of primate behavior management has had only limited success in preventing and treating abnormal behaviors, such as stereotypy and self‐injury, in captive non‐human primates (NHP). In contrast, applied behavior analysts have had great success in treating similar topographies of behavior in human clinical settings. By adapting and adopting the behavioral principles and methodologies commonly used by applied behavior analysts, primatologists may be able to develop more effective ways to analyze, reduce, and prevent these aberrant behaviors in NHP. This article reviews studies that have used behavior analytic techniques to successfully address problem behaviors in NHP. Additionally, relevant literature from the field of applied behavior analysis is reviewed to illustrate how adopting a theoretical framework that emphasizes the determination of the underlying operant functions of behavior could lead to new behavioral technologies and advance the field of captive primate management.