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Schedules of Reinforcement and Animal Behavior. Presented by Eduardo Fernandez PhD

  • Thursday, July 02, 2020
  • 6:00 PM
  • Sunday, July 02, 2023
  • 7:30 PM
  • Recorded Webinar


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CEUs: PPAB 1.5, CCPDT 1.5, IAABC 1.5, KPA 1.5

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Ferster and Skinner’s (1957) Schedules of Reinforcement was a landmark book, introducing the scientific community to the different schedules and their effects on behaviour. Since that time, the various schedules of reinforcement have been used in thousands of basic and applied research studies to examine issues as widely diverse as work performance, drug use, and legislative bill passing. While the importance of these consequential schedules on all behaviour is unmistakable, how they relate to our day-to-day lives is not always clear.

This webinar focuses on some of the core principles involved in schedules of reinforcement, namely what they are and what are their effects on behaviour. Throughout the webinar, we will detail (1) the history of these schedules, from Skinner to modern-day animal training procedures, (2) some of the past confusion of such schedules, including “variable” vs. intermittent reinforcement, and (3) how can we understand and apply schedules of reinforcement in the most effective manner. The goal will be to provide a general, empirical framework for schedules of reinforcement so that any person, trainer and scientist alike, can readily identify them and how they relate to all aspects of behaviour.

Learning Objectives

  • Understand how we operationally define a schedule of reinforcement.
  • Identify the four basic types of schedules, as well as the difference between continuous, intermittent, and “variable” reinforcement.
  • Recognise applied instances of schedules of reinforcement, including how different schedules might be effective for our applied animal behaviour purposes.

About The Presenter

Eduardo J Fernandez, PhD

Dr. Eduardo J. Fernandez received his Ph.D. in Psychology (minors in Neuroscience and Animal Behavior) from Indiana University, where he worked with the Indianapolis and Cincinnati Zoo. He received his M.S. in Behavior Analysis from the University of North Texas, where he founded and was President of the Organization for Reinforcement Contingencies with Animals (ORCA).

Most of his past and current work involves behavioral research applied to the welfare and training of zoo and companion animals. He has worked with over 50 species of animals, with a focus on marine animals, carnivores, and primates.

He is currently a Senior Lecturer in the School of Animal and Veterinary Sciences at the University of Adelaide in Australia. His past positions include a Visiting Professorship in the School of Behavior Analysis at the Florida Institute of Technology, an Affiliate Professorship in the Psychology Department at the University of Washington, a Research Fellowship with Woodland Park Zoo, and a National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship. While working with UW and Woodland Park Zoo, he started the Behavioral Enrichment Animal Research (BEAR) group, which conducted welfare research with many of the species and exhibits located throughout the zoo.

Eduardo also continues to run the Animal Reinforcement Forum (ARF), a former listserv and now Facebook group, which is dedicated to group discussions on animal training and behavior from a scientific perspective. Many of his past publications, research projects, and presentations can be found on his ResearchGate profile


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