The specialty of Behavioral and Cognitive Psychology emphasizes an experimental-clinical approach to the application of behavioral and cognitive sciences to understand human behavior and develop interventions that enhance the human condition. Behavioral and Cognitive psychologists engage in research, education, training, and clinical practice regarding a wide range of problems and populations.
The distinct focus of Behavioral and Cognitive Psychology is twofold: (a) its heavy reliance on an empirical approach; and (b) its theoretical grounding in learning and behavioral analysis theories, broadly defined, including respondent conditioning, operant learning, social learning, cognitive sciences, and information processing models of behavior. Currently, there are four sub-areas of Behavioral and Cognitive Psychology that share theoretical foundations in learning theory and a common approach to case conceptualization.
These are applied behavior analysis, behavior therapy, cognitive-behavior therapy, and cognitive therapy. Empiricism is a hallmark of all Behavioral and Cognitive, and of each of these sub-areas. Consequently, good practice in Behavioral and Cognitive Psychology relies heavily on those assessment and intervention procedures that have been found to be empirically supported.