You Can Shape Behaviour Anywhere

12992343_219565818408013_1158572298_nSkinner’s daughter, behaviour analyst Julie Vargas, Ph.D., has told me, “His realisation at that moment was that if you could do this, you could shape behaviour anywhere, in any environment.” You did not need to manipulate the task or build elaborate apparatus. You could just reinforce moves in the right direction.

Skinner named this newly discovered method shaping, to differentiate it from the mechanical process of successive approximation.

Reinforcing Tink’s Mat

We have found a very quick way to get Tink to attend the mat thanks to Corinne Wrend. As soon as Tink looks or makes a movement towards the mat, I TAG her and place the reinforcement on the mat.

She will then start to move towards the mat for the reinforcement. As she is moving towards the mat I tag each arm and leg movement towards the mat, all the time I’m TAGging I’m placing each TAGs reinforcement on the mat. So when she eventually is at the mat the mat is full of reinforcement she has just earned. This is making the mat extremely reinforcing.