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.

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11th International Conference; Dublin, Ireland; 2022

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Poster Session #64
AAB Poster Session
Friday, September 2, 2022
5:45 PM–7:45 PM
Ground Level; Forum
20. Consent and Coercion in Positive Reinforcement Animal Training
Area: AAB; Domain: Applied Research
HANNAH DAVIS MCGEE (University of North Texas), Jesus Rosales-Ruiz (University of North Texas)
Abstract: The use of positive reinforcement-based training techniques with captive animals is widely considered non-aversive. In recent years, the use of differential positive reinforcement to teach animals to consent to training and husbandry behaviors has gained popularity among animal trainers and pet owners. The animal receives a reinforcer when desired behavior is offered, creating the appearance that the animal is both consenting and benefiting from this procedure. However, if we take into account the contingencies available to the captive animal, the animal may be choosing to participate because the animal has limited alternatives. This experiment showed that manipulating the contingencies available to a captive animal changed the allocation of behaviors. When a rat’s access to different reinforcement contingencies was restricted, the rat was more likely to participate in training sessions, perform certain behaviors, and participate in sessions for a longer duration. These results support the idea that true consent cannot be obtained from a participant when the participant has limited alternatives for obtaining reinforcement and these options are controlled by the individual seeking consent.
 
 

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