Ideas that Should Die: Outdated, Outmoded, and Misunderstood Behavior Science

The inertia that results from so-called conventional wisdom about how behavior works is a big obstacle to the widespread adoption of positive, reinforcement-based training. Discussions quickly devolve into rancorous debates based on little more than personal opinions and political affiliations. One example of a conflict instigator is the intrinsic vs. extrinsic reinforcement debate. Due to many myths and misunderstandings, learners fail to benefit from the wellspring of information that comes from decades of applying the technology of behavior change known as applied behavior analysis (ABA). At the center of this problem is the deeply rooted belief that behavior exists inside individuals, independent of the conditions in which they behave. In this presentation, common myths and misunderstandings will be discussed so that participants are better able to address them.

Please note: This Session was recorded in 2017; content presented in 2018 may vary slightly. 

Susan G. Friedman, PhD

Susan G. Friedman, Ph.D. is a professor emeritus in the Department of Psychology at Utah State University. Susan has co-authored chapters on behavior change in four veterinary texts, and her popular articles have been translated into 14 languages. She teaches courses and seminars on animal learning and consults with zoos around the world. Susan was appointed to the F&WS Condor Recovery Team from 2002 - 2010, after which time the team was retired due to the success of the birds in the wild. 

She is the Chairperson of the Scientific Advisory Committee of American Humane Association (AHA) Film and TV Unit, and a member in good standing of ABAI, ABMA, and IAABC.