Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Reinforcement and Punishment: The bare basics


Achilles likes white proso millet. She will do anything for it, or do at least anything a blind bird can do. It is my main training reinforcement I give her and she couldn't be happier. 

Now are you going to train your bird with some white proso millet so that they will train well for you?

I hope not...

Mary in the office has an obsession for M&M cookies, Joe in operations prefers a jolly rancher. Just like every person has their tastes so does every individual bird. Your Amazon may not like white proso millet but may really like peanuts. Really easy right?

But a simple concept like this can be made confusing by self-proclaimed "parrot trainers". Some people will want to confuse you  about what is or is not reinforcing.

"Improperly executed punishment can end up strengthening the unwanted behavior and only making it worse."

Well if the behavior became stronger then it is not punishment then is it? It is actually properly exicuted reinforcement! Wow! What a concept! Don't let charlatains try to fool you by how they label words. Always seek out some good textbooks and educated professors so you don't end up as confused babbling tizzy. You are in control of what you learn from whom, so take charge are read a good book! (Chance, 1979)

Copyright 2013 Caitlin Bird
The Sequential Psittacine Blog

Chance, P. (1979). Learning and behavior. Belmont: Wadsworth Publishing.

Reasons why punishment should be avoided with parrots. (08, 12 2010). Retrieved from http://trainedparrot.com/index.php?bid=54&article=Reasons Why Punishment Should 

Friday, July 27, 2012

The Power of Reinforcement

I picked up a really cool book at my university library called The Power of Reinforcement. I thought it strange that it implied the use of both Positive and Negative Reinforcement in the title, so I picked it up thinking it would give me examples and applications of both varieties of reinforcement. Well, I was wrong.

I specifically picked it up because there are goofballs out there that promote the regular use of negative reinforcement in animal training, arguing that it has no downfalls or detrimental side effects. Because of this view I made a search for more information about negative reinforcement to see if the promotion of this tactic had any validity. I thought this book would set me strait. Well, it turns out that negative reinforcement still has many downfalls and detrimental side effects that promoters of this tactic are still blissfully unaware of.

I am instead finding many applicable uses of positive reinforcement in this book and it just tickles me pink! As I delve deeper into the pages of this book I'll blog about my discoveries so you can learn with me!

Copyright 2013 Caitlin Bird
The Sequential Psittacine Blog