Shattered Myths: The problem with teaching ‘other’ behavior II

So, Pavlov says that once an association is made it doesn’t fade just because you teach something knew. That should trigger a reaction of ‘who doesn’t know that’? Lots of people – everyone from behavioral scientists to modern, scientific dog trainers and educators think that is a false statement. They think that if you see a problem behavior, the way to get rid of it is to teach something else. They have a number of pet names for this process, based on the concept of ‘differential reinforcement.” Differential reinforcement means you select which behaviors you will reinforce and ignore those you don’t like. That is also called “shaping” – a term coined by B.F. Skinner himself. There are several problems with this term and concept. Continue reading