Do not growl at the dog

    I write notes from good books. Today it’s a book from Milfgard ’s second list , Don't Grow at a Dog, by Karen Prior. The book describes how to influence people, pets, dolphins, anyone. The author claims that if you learn the described techniques, you will have much less communication problems.



    1. The power of positive reinforcement


    We always have a choice: we can pay attention to bad or good things. The natural course of action for most of us is this: as soon as we see that something has gone wrong, we pay attention to it. We put the child in a corner, deprive the employee of the award, and beat the dog in the mouth. O.G. Torsunov calls this the consciousness of a fly. On the other hand, there is the consciousness of a bee, which sees how everything around is good and pleasant. That's what this is about today.



    Positive reinforcement is an event that coincides with an action and leads to an increase in the likelihood of a second occurrence of this action.

    There are two types of reinforcements: positive and negative. The positive is what the subject desires: food, affection or praise. Negative reinforcement is what the subject does not want: a slap, a frowning eyebrow, an unpleasant sound, an uncomfortable situation.

    Take the situation with the calls of children to their parents. Parents want their children to call them as often as possible, but children often do not. There are two options for reinforcement. The positive will be that as soon as the children call, they need to be told: "it's great that you called." The caller is likely to want to repeat this. The negative reinforcement will be: “Why haven't you called for so long? Why should I call you each time? ” Here the son does not want to call again to avoid such situations. In fact, you teach him not to call.

    On Habré and Megamind, an example of positive reinforcement is karma, rating, and badge achievements.



    I wrote a good post - I got a plus for karma. I wrote a bad post - you have negative reinforcement and, as a result, reluctance to write further in general. So, in the end, stubborn and stubborn users are filtered.

    Reinforcement time


    It’s good when reinforcements are given on time. If you tell your wife something like “Yesterday you looked just fine”, it will not be as good as if you said it right away. If you asked the dog for a net and she sat down, you need to immediately give her reinforcements. When she gets up it will be definitely late.
    On the other hand, it is possible to give reinforcements too soon and this also will not help the cause. Reinforcing attempts will not necessarily lead to a result. For example, if you praise a new employee simply for trying, he may get used to trying hard enough, but the result is optional.

    Reinforcement value


    What should be the reinforcement? -Less is better. Reinforcement should be easily digestible and should not turn into something very significant. If you train animals, give them something that they will eat in 5 seconds. People accepted that the more difficult the work, the stronger and more significant should be the reinforcement.

    And there is also a jackpot . This is 100 times more than regular reinforcements and is always unexpected. It can be a sudden cake in the office, brought by the head for no reason. Or it could be a spontaneous trip to St. Petersburg DivoOstrov with children. Such reinforcements (sort of undeserved) also work. But it must be sudden and really big.

    Conditional reinforcement


    We like New Year’s music, because it means that the New Year will soon be an interesting, and, I hope, sober holiday. We do not like the smell of a dental office, because this smell is followed by gear drilling, sometimes pain and a lot of money and time spent. These are, in fact, deferred reinforcements: first there is a sign of reinforcement, and then reinforcement itself. The money we work for is also conditional reinforcement. Worked → received money → purchased a new car.

    Reinforcement Modes


    No need to give reinforcements forever. Once the subject has learned the desired behavior, you can give reinforcements in a random and unpredictable manner. If you once taught a child to ride a bicycle, you will not praise him for the rest of your life. It will be, at least, strange. But it is rare and spontaneous reinforcements that will be the stimulating moment that can support behavior.

    An example from personal practice: if a designer works at a constant average (or slightly below average) level, then bursts of geinality serve as such reinforcement on his part. At such moments, I think: “He, of course, is a scoundrel, but sometimes he gives out very good things that customers like. So there’s no need to fire him yet. ”

    2. The production process


    When the subject is already doing what is needed and just need to reinforce this behavior - everything is more or less clear. But what if the desired behavior is not there and reinforced, as if, and nothing?
    The development consists in using the slightest tendency to the desired behavior and moving it step by step towards the set goal. Break the final goal into a series of consecutive, smaller goals. Find some kind of behavior that is already taking place as a first step. It often happens that the subject can perform the desired task (or part of it) by accident. In this case, you need to notice this behavior and reinforce it.

    Listed below are 10 production rules that the author parses in detail. In the framework of this article, a detailed description will not fit, but you can superficially familiarize yourself with them.
    1. Raise the criterion little by little so that you always have the opportunity to fulfill the required and receive reinforcement.
    2. Practice one thing at a particular time. Do not try to work out several criteria at the same time.
    3. Before moving on to level up, reinforce the current
    4. Introducing new criteria temporarily loosen old ones
    5. Plan your training program so that you are always ready for sharp progress in training
    6. Do not change trainers in the process of developing a specific skill
    7. If one development path is unsuccessful, find another. A lot of them
    8. Do not finish training without giving positive reinforcement. This is tantamount to punishment.
    9. If the skill worsens, quickly go through the entire previous learning process, giving reinforcements
    10. End your workout on a high note. The end of training should be joyful, not dull.


    3. Learning


    Karen Prior also writes about the learning process. Those. when there is some unwanted behavior that you want to get rid of. She gives 8 principles of learning. The first four of them are negative, and the second are positive. As you can guess, the second half of the principles works better and gives a lasting result.
    1. Kill, remove, get rid. Simply remove the source or limit it so that it cannot physically perform an undesired action.
    2. Punishment. Put the child in a corner, hit the dog with a stick, deprive the programmer of the prize
    3. Negative reinforcement
    4. Extinction. Do not pay attention to unwanted behavior. Do not reinforce it in any way: neither negatively nor positively.
    5. The development of incompatible behavior. To develop a new behavior that will be incompatible with undesirable.
    6. Ensure that this behavior occurs on a signal, and then gradually remove this signal
    7. Formation of absence. Everything is reinforced except for unwanted behavior.
    8. Change of motivation. Determine why and why unwanted behavior occurs and try replacing the behavior goal with a more appropriate / correct one.


    PS: Karen Prior writes a lot about animal training, but these same principles can also be successfully applied in our daily lives. During the reading of the book, I personally noticed how positive reinforcements personally acted on me. I can say that having mastered the science set forth in the book, you can really get +1 to communication, as announced on the cover of the book.

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