Istituto Europeo per lo Studio del Comportamento Umano (IESCUM)

By Paolo Moderato & Giovambattista Presti

IESCUM (the Istituto Europeo per lo Studio del Comportamento Umano; ) is, since 2007, the Italian chapter of ABAI, established to translate into specific actions a vision of experimental and applied behavior science in Italy. Since its founding, IESCUM has been committed to promoting the full range of behavior analytic scientific and humanistic potential. Based on this premise, IESCUM is dedicated to the training, development, and evaluation of behavior analysis in clinical settings in various forms. 

IESCUM has offered in Italy over the past year experiential trainings in clinical behavior analysis, acceptance and commitment therapy, and applied behavior analysis with scholars and professionals such as P. N. Chase, Ruth Anne Rehfeldt, Siri Ming, and S. Ala’i-Rosales. The dissemination of a sound culture in ABA has been carried out institutionally through a 2-year postgraduate course sequence (“Master” in Italian) in Behavior Analysis, now in its XVII edition, along with several 180-hour and 60-hour courses targeting operators who aim to become assistant Behavior Analysts or Behavioral Technicians. 

In collaboration with IULM University in Milan, IESCUM has promoted a postgraduate course in Behavioral Economics and Nudging. The course, now in its fourth edition, is the first of its kind in Italy and aims to apply behaviorally informed policies to organizations and society. 

IESCUM is participating (2020-2023) in an Erasmus+ project entitled “Developing Professional Qualifications and Training for European Behaviour Analysts. The behaviour analyst occupation is not formally recognised in the European Union, equally no US/international certification/license can be formally acknowledged in UE. The overall objectives of this project, which is the result of the cooperation of international partners coming from the United Kingdom, Czech Republic, Netherlands, Ireland, Greece, Sweden, and Italy, are to ensure transparency and recognition of skills and qualifications for behavior analysts in Europe, tackle skills gaps, shortages, and mismatches and support persons with special needs and/or disabilities. 

In January 2020, just before the pandemic, IESCUM played a pivotal role in founding ABA Italia. In Spring 2022, the IESCUM Board resolved to merge with ABA Italia to establish the largest Italian Association of BA’sts. ABA Italia ( brings together 435 behavior analysts, 181 assistant behavior analysts, and 488 behavioral technicians who have passed the minimum training standards to ensure families. At the moment, 3879 are the students still in training 

In September 2022, the first ABA Italia congress was held, with the participation, among others,  of Martha Pelaez, Thomas Szabo and Darin Cairns.  

Over the years, IESCUM has developed a network of national centers for early intensive behavioral interventions with autistic children. The network includes centers that are either managed by IESCUM or whose equipe is systematically supervised by IESCUM. Since 2021, IESCUM is collaborating with Behaviour Labs, a software house focused on social robotics, VR application, and new technologies dedicated to serving people in the Autism spectrum, to open a new center in Catania. 

In March 2023, IESCUM is organizing a conference on ABA, Social Robotics, and New Technologies in Catania in collaboration with the Italian Society of Child Psychiatry. In 2023, IESCUM will also organize the third Italian conference on third-generation behavior therapies called Mindfulness, Acceptance, and Compassion. This conference has been held in Milan since 2017 and sees the attendance of about 500 professionals and researchers. 

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