Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


48th Annual Convention; Boston, MA; 2022

Event Details

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Poster Session #92
AAB Saturday Poster Session: Even-Numbered Posters
Saturday, May 28, 2022
2:00 PM–3:00 PM
Exhibit Level; Exhibit Hall A
Chair: Jordan Belisle (Missouri State University)
2. Training a wild squirrel to approach and accept food from the hand of humans using shaping procedures
Area: AAB; Domain: Applied Research
TEJASHREE DHRUVARAJ MUJUMDAR (Behavior Momentum India), Smita Awasthi (Behavior Momentum India)
Discussant: Jordan Belisle (Missouri State University)

Squirrels by nature are not domesticated. In this behavioral experiment, a wild and untamed squirrel was trained to reach out and take food from the hands of the experimenter and others within 10 feet periphery in an open environment using shaping procedures through a changing-criterion design. The initial target behavior was reaching out to take food from distance. A step-by-step modification of target behaviors was planned and introduced in order to receive food. Using shaping procedures for systematic delivery of reinforcement for the achievement of successive target behaviors was established. The subject showed 100% mastery and acquired 9 different target behaviors in 28 days. The average latency reduced from 24.1 sec for Target Behaviour-1 to 2.9 sec for Target Behavior-9. In addition to achieving the target operant class, the subject also showed additional behaviors (accepting gentle strokes, showing up on its own, lingering around, making sustained eye contact, etc.) and generalization across people as the behavior-consequence contingency was strengthened.

4. Concerns, Advantages, and Roles of "Positive Only" vs. "Balanced Training Including Use of Aversives" for Dog Training
Area: AAB; Domain: Service Delivery
MATTHEW GROSS (Shippensburg University), Richard Cook (Applied Behavior Medicine Associates of Hershey)
Discussant: Jordan Belisle (Missouri State University)
Abstract: In the world of dog training there exists opposing schools of thought about the use of aversive methods when training dogs. Some adhere to "Positive Only" approaches, adamantly excluding procedures or methods considered to be aversive, while others choose to employ a fuller range of approaches, generally reserving aversive approaches for severe or difficult behaviors. Practitioners of Positive-only/Force-free methods utilize only positive reinforcement and negative punishment procedures while training dogs, and often extend their philosophies to the stated opposition of methods which include the use of aversive (negative reinforcement and positive punishment) procedures. "Balanced" dog training practitioners advocate for the use of all operant conditioning procedures when appropriate, and do exclude aversive methods. A concern arising from this controversy is that excluding the use of aversive/punishing techniques removes tools from the bag that might be the most appropriate, or even only, method to address certain dog-related behaviors, including to but not limited to severe behaviors, which may lead to situations where the dog is not successfully trained, or worse, euthanized. This controversy arises not only over disagreement over the use of aversive methodologies themselves, but also stems from erroneous assumptions and incomplete or differing understanding of the behavioral terms. This presentation will highlight and attempt to clarify the issues and misunderstandings related to this controversy, while allowing the viewer to form their own opinion on the matter.



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