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Episode - 30 July, 2021
Host: Barbara Heidenreich
Guests: Jesus Rosales-Ruiz, PhD and Mary Hunter, MS
My special guests this episode are Dr Jesus Rosales-Ruiz and Mary Hunter. As hosts of the Art and Science of Animal Training Conference, they bring together behavior scientists and animal trainers to inspire both communities and elevate the conversation. The theme of the most recent conference was negative reinforcement. In this podcast we revisit this topic and so much more. Our discussion of negative reinforcement meant more exploration of Constructional Aggression Treatment (C.A.T). Jesus and Mary shared some great stories from the lab (even one about training a cockroach!) that are important for trainers to hear. Sometimes what occurs in a laboratory experiment looks very different from what trainers do. A great example was our discussion of counter conditioning. We also discuss the importance of function-based interventions and how positive reinforcement can have better effect once you take care of the negative reinforcement contingency already in place. This also tied into the issue surrounding coercive applications of positive reinforcement and how to remove those barriers. Jesus and Mary share some relatable real-life examples to help illustrate these issues trainers face, for example when animals show fear responses to new objects or household items. This episode is full of science and practical application, and I love that it left me thinking “I have so much more to learn!”
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Dr. Jesús Rosales-Ruiz is an Associate Professor in the Department of Behavior Analysis at the University of North Texas. He obtained his Ph.D. from the University of Kansas in 1995 under the direction of Dr. Donald M. Baer. During his graduate training, he also worked closely with Dr. Ogden R. Lindsley. Dr. Rosales-Ruiz’s areas of interest include antecedent control of behavior, generalization, behavioral cusps, fluency-based teaching, treatment of autism, teaching of academic behavior, animal training, rule-governed behavior, and contingency-shaped behavior. He has served on several editorial boards, including the Journal of Precision Teaching, the European Journal of Behavior Analysis, and the International Journal of Psychology and Psychological Therapy. Dr. Rosales-Ruiz is a fellow of the Eastern Psychological Association and a trustee of the Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies.
Mary Hunter earned an undergraduate degree in biology from the University of Chicago in 2008 and a master’s degree in behavior analysis from the University of North Texas in 2013. She runs her own animal training and consulting business and serves as president of The Art and Science of Animal Training, a Texas-based nonprofit that provides educational programs for professional animal trainers. Mary teaches classes at the University of North Texas as an adjunct instructor. In 2017, she converted an upper-level undergraduate class into a self-paced, mastery-based course using Dr. Fred Keller’s Personalized System of Instruction. Mary’s main research interests include studying the process of shaping and developing better methods for teaching both people and animals.
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