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The Structure of Learning by Beatrix Gardner, R. Allen Gardner

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CHAPTER  14

Teaching Sign Language to Chimpanzees

How do the principles of ethology and experimental design in this book apply to learning outside of the conditioning chamber? From the point of view of the teacher or the trainer, does it really matter whether a teaching and training technique depends on feed forward or feed backward, on operant conditioning or Pavlovian conditioning, or even on errors in experimental design? The result is the same—or is it? Everything depends on what the teacher aims to teach. If the target behavior resembles obligatory responses evoked by food, then rewarding a hungry learner with food will work as it does in the Skinner box. Otherwise, food will favor the obligatory responses over the target behavior regardless ...

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