Behavioural Modification using alternative training techniques Flashcards Preview

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A secondary reinforcer is a stimulus that reinforces behaviour after being previously associated with a primary reinforcer that satisfies basic survival instincts.
For example, during clicker training, the clicker alone means nothing. However when associated with performing a task the reward is food. The secondary reinforcer (the click) now has currency.


What is clicker training?

Clicker training is a method of secondary reinforcement training.
- it should be done in short intervals, with a period of consolidation between training sessions. This break helps to strengthen the neural pathways formed in the training e.g. between the ears and the NA (on the pleasure circuit)
- every time the clicker is paired with the reward, the neural pathway strengthens and over time this strengthens
- to maximise training potential the reward should come immediately after the desired task is performed - this way the horse learns that the consequence of performing the task is definitely a treat.


What is target training?

Target training is a lead on from clicker training. It involves the horse touching a target as its desired behaviour. Good with helping loading issues, as the focus is on the target and not loading into the trailer.


How is the fight/flight instinct suppressed in the horse?

Activation of the pleasure circuit (i.e. the NA)


What is the main centre of the fight/flight response?

The amygdala



A horse that is neophobic is scared of new things. Can make it difficult to target train a horse, particularly if the target is scary. The amygdala is heavily involved.



A horse that is neophillic has an attraction or an interest in new things. These horses are easy to target train because of their curiousness.
80-90% of horses will inspect a target when presented with it


What are methods of general learning theories?

- habituation
- classical conditioning
- operant conditioning


Describe habituation

Habituation is the process of repeating an action in order to reduce the reaction to it. Often there is a flight response initially, but this should decrease e/g/ opening an umbrella


Describe classical conditioning

A stimulus is presented and the animal displays an involuntary reaction to that stimulus. A conditioned stimulus can be used to get a conditioned response. The key is that the animal is being trained to give an involuntary response, controlled by the autonomic nervous system.

For example, Pavlov used dogs and prepared food where the dogs could not see him. The sound of the food being prepared caused the dogs to salivate (unconditioned response). This was turned to a bell. Eventually when the dogs heard the bell (conditioned stimulus) they began to salivate (conditioned response).


What is involved in classical conditioning?

- unconditioned stimulus
- unconditioned response (the animal's natural reaction to the production of the stimulus)
- conditioned stimulus
- conditioned response. This response HAS to be involuntary e.g. salivation or increased heart rate


What are the 4 different timing for classical conditioning?

- delayed conditioning - CS given, US given, CS stops
- simultaneous conditioning - CS given as US given
- trace conditioning - CS given, small gap, then US given
- backward conditioning - US given, CS given


Describe operant conditioning

Operant conditioning involves training a voluntary response, unlike classical, which is involuntary. These responses are controlled by the somatic nervous system. Operant conditioning is a method of secondary reinforcement


Who coined classical conditioning?

Ivan Pavlov. He used the provision of meat to stimulate an involuntary response of salivation in dogs.


Who coined operant conditioning?

Edward Thorndike. He put cats into puzzle boxes; they were given a food reward when they were able to release themselves.


What is an example of operant conditioning in horses?

Training leg yield. Trial and error responses are given by the horse in response to pressure from the rider's leg. These may include going forward or bucking etc. Eventually the correct response (going sideways) is achieved and the horse gets a reward in the form of the removal of leg pressure from his side/verbal praise



Latency is the time between a stimulus in response. For example the time between a rider putting pressure on the horse's side and the horse moving sideways.


What is Thorndike's law of effect?

A voluntary response that is followed by a reward is more likely to recur whereas one that is followed by an unpleasant experience is less likely to occur again.


What are the two kinds of reinforcers?

Appetitive reinforcers and aversive reinforcers


What are appetitive reinforcers?

These increase the likelihood of a specific behaviour. They may be positive or negative:
Positive - where a reward is given in association with a desired behaviour e.g. a carrot for loading
Negative - where an unpleasant stimulus is applied constantly until the desired behaviour is performed e.g. lunge line pressure on the back end when loading


Is negative reinforcement the same as punishment?

No, it is usually mild and strategically taken away when the desired behaviour is performed.


What are aversive reinforcers?

These reduce the likelihood of a specific behaviour. They are normally applied to well developed abhorrent behaviour patterns e.g. biting/door banging. It is debatable whether it helps the horse to learn it is wrong. For example shouting at a horse banging the door gives it the attention its seeking.