Extinction: Dinosaurs and Precise Language

dinosaur-extinction-mauricio-antonA much suggested solution to behavior problems is called an “extinction” procedure. Extinction is said to make a behavior disappear through lack of reinforcement. An example would be the decrease in “going to the store” behavior if the store goes out of business. To understand this behavioral effect it’s important to start at the beginning – the definitions of extinction.
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Extinction: An Ironic Addendum

If you read my first article about extinction you’ll know that I think it is an overly-hyped suggestion that doesn’t work as advertised to control behavior. dinosaur-meteorite_3040850bNow I will offer the proof of the pudding. A quote from someone who knew that even punishment needs to be reapplied to suppress a behavior. You may be surprised about who acknowledged that fact. It may also caution you about swallowing “what they say” without first using your own knowledge and using a little bit of logic. Continue reading

DRO – Differential Reinforcement of “Other” Behavior:

DRO stands for “differential reinforcement of ‘other’ behavior”. You can shorten it to “teach something different.” It is a widely recommended means of fixing behavior problems. For example, if a dog jumps up on people, teach it to lie down, instead. There are variations on DRO, such as DRI (teaching an incompatible behavior) and DRA (teaching an alternate behavior) In essence they all mean the same thing – teach the dog something new to replace an existing behavior. Despite the popularity of these tricks the reality is that they are not suggested because they are the most effective way to stop unacceptable behavior. They are suggested because they avoid considering punishment. This is often attributed to being the “scientific” way to solve behavior problems. It’s not. Continue reading