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Pushing the Limits: Unexpected Findings about Instincts, Consequences, and Complex Skills Learning Theory and Ethology with Susan M. Schneider, PhD

  • Monday, July 06, 2015
  • 12:00 PM
  • Thursday, July 06, 2023
  • 1:30 PM
  • Recorded Webinar


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Pushing the Limits: Unexpected Findings about Instincts, Consequences, and Complex Skills
Learning Theory and Ethology

with Susan M. Schneider, PhD


IAABC - 1.5 CEUs
CPDT - 1.5 CEUs
KPA - 1.5 CEUs
PPG - 1.5 CEUs

The more that researchers explore animal capabilities, the more flexibility we find.  That applies to instincts as well as to complex skills like learning through observing.  This talk will highlight classic and current findings from this world of innovative research.

From instincts that change in five minutes, to dogs who learn hundreds of words, to birds that use tools, see how animals are pushing the limits of what we thought was possible.  Topics include "instinct"-operant interactions, choice, signals, and learning through observing.  While a wide variety of species is covered, the focus is on canines.

Webinar Objectives

To describe how flexible animal behavior can be.  

At the end of the talk, participants will understand:
    • How learning from consequences (technically, operant learning) and instincts interact, and
    • How learning can extend to impressive feats of memory, generalization, and other complex skills.
    • Includes the predatory sequence in canines, instinct-learning interactions, choice, signals, learning through observing, tool use, and other topics.

About The Presenter

Susan M. Schneider, PhD, is a learning researcher and developmental psychobiologist who has clicker trained her pet rats and budgies. She obtained her graduate education from Brown University (mechanical engineering) and the University of Kansas (behavior analysis). Currently a Visiting Scholar at the University of the Pacific, she has been a professor at St. Olaf College, Auburn University, and Florida International University, and a visiting research fellow at the University of Auckland in New Zealand.

Susan's twenty-five years of research and teaching have produced numerous scientific studies and theoretical articles, including pioneering work on generalization and choice. Her award-winning book for the public, The Science of Consequences: How They Affect Genes, Change the Brain, and Impact Our World, describes fundamental learning principles, their role in the larger realm of nature and nurture, and their many applications--including the benefits of positive reinforcement-based approaches to animal training and welfare. The book received advance praise from well-known experts in genetics, neuroscience, and economics, as well as in psychology and behavior analysis. It has received worldwide recognition, including coverage in the international scientific journal Nature, The Scientist magazine, and the review magazine of the National Science Teachers Association.

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