Hawai'i Association for Behavior Analysis

To educate, advocate for, and support both providers and consumers 
of Applied Behavior Analysis.

Facts and Fads

(reprinted with permission from Behaviorbabe)

In the day and age of quick fixes and desperate need for solutions, many individuals are taking the opportunity to promote treatments as effective (for autism, weight loss, infertility, etc.) without adequate research or support.  Some are trying to "get rich quick" and others may simply be sharing information without checking the facts.  This page is dedicated to the discussion of facts vs. fads with an emphasis on characteristics that will help YOU distinguish between science and pseudoscience.

Pseudeoscientific Therapies: Some Warning Signs

Association for Science in Autism Treatment (ASAT)  

1. High "success" rates are claimed.

2. Rapid effects are promised.

3. The therapy is said to be effective for many symptoms or disorders.

4. The "theory" behind the therapy contradicts objective knowledge (and sometimes, common sense).

5. The therapy is said to be easy to administer, requiring little training or expertise.

6. Other, proven treatments are said to be unnecessary, inferior, or harmful.

7. Promoters of the therapy are working outside their area of expertise.

8. Promoters benefit financially or otherwise from adoption of the therapy.

9. Testimonials, anecdotes, or personal accounts are offered in support of claims about the therapy's effectiveness, but little or no objective evidence is provided.

10. Catchy, emotionally appealing slogans are used in marketing the therapy.

11. Belief and faith are said to be necessary for the therapy to "work."

12. Skepticism and critical evaluation are said to make the therapy's effects evaporate.

13. Promoters resist objective evaluation and scrutiny of the therapy by others.

14. Negative findings from scientific studies are ignored or dismissed.

Science, Pseudoscience and Anti-Science (ASAT) 

10 Questions to Distinguish Science from Pseudoscience


1. What is the source?

2. What is the agenda?

3. What kind of language does it use?

4. Does it involve testimonials?

5. Are there claims of exclusivity?

6. Is there a mention of conspiracy of any kind?

7. Does the claim involve multiple unassociated disorders?

8. Is there a money trail or a passionate belief involved?

9. Were real scientific processes involved?

10. Is there expertise?