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Students may complete this project as a group or individual in which they will use the techniques of operant conditioning to train a pet, or any animal, to perform a new behavior,or “trick”. (this can be theoretical or "live") Your efforts should be described in a typed, double-spaced report.

The project will have eight parts, all of which should be discussed in your paper as follows:

  • Pick the behavior, or “trick”, you will guide it into performing. It should be a behavior beyond simple command behaviors, such as - sit, stay, or speak. The more complex, the better.
  • Watch the animal to see if it performs any behaviors which mimic or approximate the targeted behavior.
  • Pick a reinforcer which will encourage the animal to learn the trick.
  • Teach the trick through use of Skinner’s shapingDetail how long this takes, and how you built to the desired behavior through successive approximations.
  • Once the behavior has been acquired, fade the reinforcement by only delivering it every four or five times the trick is performed.
  • Put the behavior through extinction by no longer reinforcing it; count how many trials it takes before the animal stops responding, if it stops at all.
  • Wait two days and see if the animal will again respond, then try a different reinforcer, praise of affection and see if that will maintain the behavior.
  • Summarize the entire process and describe what this exercise taught you about the power (and frustrations) of behavior modification through operant conditioning.
  • Extra credit available for a video of the process.

need 1-2 APA sources Minimum - defining Operant Conditioning.

2-3 page paper.

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