Linking Course Content to Practice Essay

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The conference “Fifty Shades of Behavior Analysis” was nothing short of its name. The presenters at this conference reminded all of us in the field of Behavior Analysis that being a science of behavior allows us to apply our principles to many domains beyond working with individuals who have disabilities. Applied Behavior Analysis is the application of the science of behavior to the solution of problems of social significance (Cooper, Heron, & Heward, 2007). Carr (November, 2013) reminded us that social significance is more than working with those individuals with disabilities. The principles of behavior analysis have been applied to areas involving child welfare, workplace and safety, behavioral gerontology, and one that many are…show more content…
Some were even trained to make silly faces. In order for these behaviors to occur the trainers had to provide reinforcement after the occurrence of the desired behavior. Even though it wasn’t mentioned in the presentation it would have been interesting to find out if the schedule of reinforcement changed while training these animals. As professionals we know that using variable schedules of reinforcement maintain behaviors and result in a steady state of responding, or if they implemented a progressive ratio schedule where the response requirement increases before providing reinforcement (Pierce & Cheney, 2013). In addition to using reinforcement, Sutherland (November, 2013) spoke about how trainers build off the animal’s naturalistic behavior to train new behaviors. As behavior analysts we know Sutherland is referring to a procedure called autoshaping, which combines both respondent and operant conditioning. Autoshaping is when an organism produces biological characteristics that can then be reinforced (Pierce & Cheney, 2013). Autoshaping shapes the behaviors that an organism is born with by adding reinforcement contingencies. Sutherland’s analysis of her experience at the exotic zoo demonstrates that principles of behavior analysis can be used and explained without using behavior analytic terms to explain the procedures. Even though we are finding the principles of our field expanding to other areas, Gerhardt
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