Video on Demand by Karen Pryor Clicker Training |

5 Bars: Boost the Signal Strength of Your Cues (TeamTaught)

Discriminative stimuli signal that certain reinforcers will be available if you behave in certain ways. Without these cues, behavior would be spraying out like water from a leaky faucet. Cues gain their strength to signal behavior because they lead to reinforcement. In the traditional paradigm, when a learner offers a different behavior than the one that was cued, extinction follows (i.e., reinforcement is withheld). As a result of this double contingency (reinforcement or extinction), cued behaviors increase and un-cued behaviors decrease. However, given the use of extinction, learners can experience detrimental side effects from a too-lean schedule of reinforcement.

Recently, some trainers have questioned the necessity of using extinction to put a behavior on cue. Their alternative strategies include training in pairs, training in highly varied contexts, training a default or standby behavior, and allowing cues to develop from the shaping process itself. In this presentation, Hannah Branigan, Susan G. Friedman, Ph.D., Alexandra Kurland, & Sarah Owings team-teach and review the traditional approach for getting a behavior under cue control. After that, they share their innovative procedures to boost your signal strength, reduce extinction fallout, and make sure your learners can “hear you now.”


The TeamTaught format brings together a small team of ClickerExpo speakers to present distinct perspectives on a theme. Read the program description for the specific theme and the specific speakers included in this TeamTaught video.