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Episode 103: Cindy Martin and Mary Hunter Pt 2: PORTL


In part 2 of our conversation with Cindy Martin and Mary Hunter we talk about PORTL. (Portable Operant Research and Teaching Lab)

Cindy Martin hosts a clinic for me at her farm in Arkansas.

Mary Hunter is our co-presenter in our new Listen and Learn audio course on applied behavior analysis.

During a morning’s conversation after the 2019 clinic, the discussion turned to PORTL. Mary truly is our PORTL master. When she was working on her master’s degree at the University of North Texas, every week the graduate students in the behavior analysis department would get together to play PORTL. Actually, originally it would have been Kay Laurence’s table game, Genabacab. Under Jesús’ direction the game gradually morphed into PORTL: the portable operant research and teaching lab. Table games had been used to help handlers improve their teaching skills. Now they could also be used to conduct research. Mary’s Master’s degree used PORTL to investigate the effects of what are commonly referred to as desperation clicks. What effect, if any, does one bad click have on the rest of your training? Rather than frustrate lab rats, Mary used her fellow students to explore this question. Her research was published in the Journal of Experimental Analysis of Behavior. In 2019 she and Dr. Jesus Rosales Ruiz also published the Portal manual. The manual shares lessons that were developed over seven years in undergraduate and graduate courses and also in professional workshops. I’ve had the very great treat of playing PORTL with Mary. That’s what we’ll be describing as we pick up again with this week’s podcast.