dogalyze

dogalyze


The Art, Science & Technology of Animal Behavior

September 2018
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Function matters: a review of terminological differences in applied and basic clicker training research

Christian JunkChristian Junk

Function matters: a review of terminological differences in applied and basic clicker training research

In clicker training, animal trainers pair a small device (a “clicker”) with a reward when teaching or maintaining responding. Animal trainers often assume clicker training is a “science-based” way to train animals. But, the few studies that have compared clicker training to a control have not provided evidence that adding a clicker is beneficial to training. This may be because research on clicker training has studied only one of several potential functions of the clicker stimulus that have been discussed by animal trainers. A systematic approach to researching the function of the clicker in clicker training would benefit from collaboration between applied and basic researchers. However, this will require that terminological differences between animal trainers and basic researchers are reconciled. This paper reviews the few studies that have compared clicker training to a control group and then discusses how trainers and basic researchers use the same terminology in functionally different ways—suggesting the empirical support for mechanisms underlying clicker training is less robust than previously assumed. These differences highlight many opportunities to answer basic and applied research questions relative to clicker training methods. Advancements in clicker training methods will benefit animal trainers who have been using clicker training for decades as well as applied practitioners who have extended clicker training to humans in educational and clinical settings.

— Function matters: a review of terminological differences in applied and basic clicker training research

Passion for ethical, science based behaviour management, behavioral engineering & training. I geek out on science-based Animal Training & Behaviorology. Disclaimer: R+ biased.