Parsimony in Animal Training

50 Points

This badge signifies the completion of the course Parsimony in Animal Training.

This course covers the following:

  • In each example shared in this course the most parsimonious explanation is that the behavior is reinforced.
  • It is nothing more complex than that. Some are discriminations. Some have little reinforcement history but eventually the animal does the behavior. One example was being trained with negative reinforcement.
  • To help get to the most parsimonious explanation, you must practice philosophic doubt. You need to question what you hear/read…(even if it is a peer reviewed published paper on elephant behavior! Or parrots reading.) But this is how we make progress.
  • You also need to let go of mentalistic interpretations of behavior. Self-awareness is a construct. Touching a dot on yourself when looking in a mirror is a behavior. The two have nothing to do with whether a person or animal will be empathetic (also a construct) to the suffering of others. In other words, describe behavior you want to see that indicate these constructs…..although self-awareness is a tough sell.
  • Over 100 years ago Watson said “behaviorism (instead of mentalism) would lead to prediction and control of behavior and allow practitioners to improve performance” You would think we would have if figured it out by now J

This course takes 1 hour to complete.

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