top of page

Episode 283: Dr. Claire St Peter and Abbie Cooper Pt 3: What Happens When Training Goes Sideways: Why Do We Choose Aversive Procedures?

This is part 3 of our conversation with Dr. Claire St Peter from the University of West Virginia and one of her graduate students, Abbie Cooper.

Abbie has been comparing behaviors that were trained with either positive or negative reinforcement when they are placed under conditions of extinction. What happens to behavior when training goes sideways and the individual is no longer getting reinforced for actions that had been producing consistent, desired results?

In Part 1 she described her study and the results she has been getting,

In Part 2 we considered the emotional fallout that was observed and we connected it to real world experiences both in animal training and the classroom.

In Part 3 Claire raises the question why do people adopt the teaching procedures that use negative reinforcement and punishment based approaches. Why are these approaches so prevalent, not just in animal training, but in the classroom as well? Why don’t people gravitate towards using alternative reinforcement strategies that are based more in a positive reinforcement framing?

This is the launching point for this week’s conversation in which we explore connections.

We consider how the results of Abbie’s study relate to what people experience both with horses and in the classroom. What can be learned? What role does microshaping play in creating teaching strategies that do not rely on aversive control to get results?


bottom of page