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Episode 163: Dr Susan Friedman Pt 3: Negative Reinforcement

This is part 3 of our conversation with Dr. Susan Friedman. We began in part 1 with a discussion of crucial conversations - what do you do when the stakes are high and emotions are becoming heated? How do you keep the dialog going and maintain a relationship? And what is a relationship? That’s what we explored in Part 2. We often think emotions get in the way, but Susan reminded us that emotions are diagnostic. They track contingencies. All of this brought us to a discussion of the hierarchy of behavior change procedures.

The hierarchy has been a great guideline for many trainers. When Susan first wrote about it in her article: “What’s Wrong with this Picture? Effectiveness in Not Enough”, it was common for trainers and educators to go straight to punishment to solve behavior problems. The hierarchy offered an alternative, one that is now in wide use in the training community. But there were critics of the hierarchy. Many questioned where negative reinforcement was placed in the hierarchy. Some thought it was too low, some too high. In this episode we explore the complexity of negative reinforcement and consider why both may be right.

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