Watch the trailer for Dr. Iver Iversen's talk
Video descriptionHow does shaping work? How has shaping been studied by behavior scientists both historically and more recently? This presentation takes an in-depth look at the processes that take place during the shaping of novel behavior. Dr. Iversen examines research examples ranging from “simple” lever presses in rats to complex drawing in apes. Through these examples, he analyzes the role of strengthening of behavior by reinforcement, maintenance of behavior by reinforcement, variability of behavior induced by extinction, and appearance of “novel” forms of behavior. Specifically, you will learn about the following topics related to shaping and the acquisition of behavior:
- Early experiments on animal behavior and learning conducted by Edward Thorndike and B.F. Skinner
- Research by both Dr. Skinner and Dr. Iversen demonstrating how even a single reinforcer can have a dramatic effect on behavior
- Laboratory experiments demonstrating how well-learned behaviors begin to vary during extinction
- A basic theory of how the shaping process creates novel behavior by shifting the response distribution, followed by several examples from the laboratory and from the "real world"
- Experimental demonstrations of the acquisition of complex behaviors. In one study, the rat had to press a sensitive lever so that it was displaced a certain number of centimeters for a certain amount of time. In a second study, the rat had to press two levers in a certain order. Later, the order was reversed.
- An extended case study: Using shaping to teach chimpanzees to use a touch monitor to trace lines, solve mazes, and more.
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