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5 Great Personality Traits of an Applied Behavioral Analyst

The abridged job description of an applied behavioral analyst is to study behaviors and the environmental factors that may influence them, but only those who possess a certain set of essential personality traits can execute the job perfectly.

The greatest personality traits for applied behavioral analysts to have are a unique blend of both openness and rationalism. A natural behavior analyst can balance a personable demeanor with critical attention to detail. The path of the behavioral analyst requires not only a sharp mind, but also a genuine interest in the thoughts, feelings and actions of others around them.

Attentive listening skills

The first personality trait of a natural applied behavioral analyst is a boundless capacity for listening. The behavioral analyst is never fixated on being a heard above the person that they communicate with. While they may have their own convictions, natural behavioral analysts will still have genuine desire to simply understand another person’s reasoning.

The behavior analyst’s outward-scanning personality overrides their ego and quiets the static noise of self-fixation, allowing them to perceive the easily overlooked significance of subtle things that people do and say. They are more interested in the underlying motivations behind another person’s words and actions than their personal feelings towards whatever is immediately observable on the surface.


Because an applied behavior analyst needs to have a crystal window of insight into the unfiltered behaviors and words of others, it is highly beneficial for them to be comfortable with directly engaging people in any setting.

Because a dedicated behavioral analyst is always interested in the most truthful representation of people’s feelings and actions, it is fitting for them to have a certain demeanor and charisma that naturally makes it easier for others to lower their walls and express themselves with less inhibitions. A behavioral analyst with a real affinity for their profession has an ability to make even those with more socially anxious or belligerent personalities feel more at ease.

Emotional maturity

At many points in time, the career of an applied behavioral analyst may demand fortress-like emotional resilience and perfect ego suppression. No matter what words or actions they may hear or see, not a single trace of personal disapproval or confirmation bias can color their analyses. Being immune to personal insults, taunts and inflammatory speech while observing are bare minimum requirements.

The perfect observer has a rare ability to “forget” themselves. Every trace of subjective thought must be put aside so that that all information from the eyes and years can be recorded in crystal clear definition, as this is the only way that the analyst can take the perfectly impartial notes necessary for a valid observation.

The analysts’ field observations and personal reservations must be completely and consistently separated at all times; this is not only for the sake of a proper observation, but also for their own sake as well. Applied behavioral analyst not only need to be able to remain steadfast during work, but also capable of keeping their professional experiences from interfering with their everyday life.


The ability to empathize is an essential personality trait that behavioral analysts need for both identifying with others and remaining objective. Because of how much emotional volatility they may encounter in their observations, one of the most important challenges for an applied behavioral analyst to overcome is striking the balance between being both empathetic and professionally unbiased at the same time


Above all other personality traits, an applied behavioral analyst must be incurably enthusiastic about learning more. When it comes to behavioral analysts who are truly actualized in their line of work, not even the rigorous mental demands of analysis nor the emotional strain of their observations can compare to their tenacity in the pursuit of higher understanding.

Related Resource: Top 20 Best Applied Behavior Analysis Programs

Though some these personality traits might seem slightly contradictory at a glance, when put together, they are simply indicators of a person who has both a passion for understanding others and the capacity for highly calculative work. The ideal applied behavioral analyst is naturally philanthropic at their core, and yet still has the discipline and steadfastness to perform professionally in environment that demands unwavering focus and emotional resilience.