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Agency and Shaping
Tuesday, 13 Aug 2019 by Andy Lattal, PhD
Shaping, or the differential reinforcement of successive approximations, is thought by many to be the most important tool in the behavior analyst’s toolbox. Shaping is usually thought of as something one human does to change the behavior of another living organism, most often to a human but also to a pet or a laboratory subject of the nonhuman persuasion. In such cases, the human is the agent of the shaping in that the human decides the conditions under which successive approximations do or do not merit reinforcement.
Immedium and Procrastinium: A Fable in Waiting
Tuesday, 7 Jan 2020 by Andy Lattal, PhD
Once upon a time, there were twins named Immedium and Procrastinium. As their names might suggest, the two approached tasks very differently. When a deadline was assigned, Procrastinium’s first reaction was to do something else, while Immedium started on it and soon got it done, PDQ, kazaam, what’s next?
When Punishment is a Reinforcer
Wednesday, 29 Apr 2020 by Andy Lattal, PhD
The behavior of punishing. When behavior is reinforced it becomes more likely the next time, and the next, often in an ever-escalating spiral.
Are Bigger Reinforcers Better?
Tuesday, 4 Aug 2020 by Andy Lattal, PhD
When it comes to reinforcement, it is difficult to say.
The Term DRO
Tuesday, 25 Aug 2020 by Andy Lattal, PhD
Bad or Possibly Redeemable Label? A procedure in which each target response postpones a scheduled reinforcer most often is described in both the basic and applied research and practice literature as a dif
Time for a Timeout from Timeouts?
Tuesday, 8 Jan 2019 by Andy Lattal, PhD
In a recent article published in the Washington Post entitled, “Timeouts are a dated and ineffective parenting strategy. So what’s a good alternative?” the author of the article answers the question of the present blog affirmatively. She states, “I never used timeouts with my older kids and I don’t plan to rely on it when the baby I’ll give birth to in a few weeks is old enough to go into full-blown tantrum mode.”
A Signal Experience
Thursday, 16 Jan 2020 by Andy Lattal, PhD
The discussion centered around whether or not it is good Behavior-ese to describe a discriminative stimulus as signaling the availability of reinforcement.
Tuesday, 11 Aug 2020 by Andy Lattal, PhD
For the past six months I have had the pleasure of living in the beautiful city of Nara,
What is Social Behavior?
Tuesday, 7 Apr 2020 by Andy Lattal, PhD
“What constitutes social behavior?” The general conception is that social interaction involves two organisms in some form of interaction with one another
Out of Thin Air?
Tuesday, 3 Mar 2020 by Andy Lattal, PhD
In speaking of the origins of operant behavior, Skinner famously observed that “[o]perant conditioning shapes behavior as a sculptor shapes a lump of clay.
Tuesday, 10 Mar 2020 by Andy Lattal, PhD
When behavior is described as complex, it could mean “I don’t understand it” and the reason “I don’t understand it” is because there are many variables that contribute to it, making it difficult to isolate the causes of the behavior.
Invasive Behavioral Events: Lessons from Invasive Species
Tuesday, 24 Mar 2020 by Andy Lattal, PhD
Sometimes when invasive species appear, the ecosystem assimilates it without destroying extant species, but at least equally as often, there is a clear winner and a clear loser. The same is true of behavioral systems.
Tuesday, 11 Feb 2020 by Andy Lattal, PhD
Aging and contributions seem far more functional than The Atlantic author appreciated. His view is very formal and structural, “Hit the magic age, and it is time to move on.” It certainly may be a good idea for some people.
Pragmatism and Playing Well with Others
Tuesday, 1 Oct 2019 by Andy Lattal, PhD
Many applied behavior analysts find themselves in a different world from that in which they were trained. Most are trained by other behavior analysts in programs or even departments where the principal worldview is that of behavior analysis. Fast forward a couple of years (or more) and many of those same people find themselves in multidisciplinary settings, working with people who not only have different specialty areas—for example, medicine, rehabilitation therapy, social work—but, more importantly, a totally different way of looking at problems, both conceptually and methodologically
Getting to the Cause of Things
Tuesday, 7 Jul 2020 by Andy Lattal, PhD
“Why did Johnny just throw the mother of all temper tantrums?” is a question many of you have asked and been asked, in some form or another. The response to this question, under scrutiny, may have been different. The perpetrator may have been different. The circumstances may have been different.