Good and not-so-good paths to learning

Mary Hunter
Presentation given at the 2016 Conference

Sometimes, everything is going great while training a new behavior. Then, the trainer moves to the next step and everything seems to fall apart! One reason this can happen is because even though the trainer thought she was training a certain cue for the behavior, other cues were controlling the behavior.

In 1977, Schilmoeller and Etzel described two types of shaping programs, those that use criterion related cues and those that use non-criterion related cues. Non-criterion related cues often lead to frustration and poor outcomes during shaping. On the other hand, when criterion related cues are used during shaping, the program is likely to succeed because changes in cues are related to the final performance. This presentation will define and illustrate these two concepts and discuss their implications for the design and implementation of shaping programs.

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