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This talk will examine the use of the Premack principle as the positive reinforcement for behavior modification. Positive reinforcement involves adding a reinforcing stimulus to increase the probability that a behavior will occur. Regarded as an easy and effective training technique, positive reinforcement often includes some type of item – a treat – that an animal is given after they’ve completed a desirable behavior. However, the use of food as a reinforcer is not always effective or practical, particularly in working settings or with animals that are less motivated by food. Some owners or animal handlers abandon positive reinforcement methodology in favor of another modification technique, or stop training altogether. The Premack Principle states that a behavior can be used to reinforce another behavior, so in this way the “reinforcing stimulus” does not have to be a treat but can be a behavior, such as an activity or the opportunity to do something enjoyable. This talk will introduce the Premack Principle, current research on the Premack Principle, and some ways the Premack Principle can be utilized in applied settings.
Speaker(s):Lauren Brubaker MS