A Behavior Systems Approach to Learning: Species-Typical Behavior


Learning involves a complex set of conditions.  While most training procedures focus on the explicit environmental control of such behavior (e.g., operant and respondent contingencies), underlying species-typical mechanisms determine much of how this will occur.  This lecture will examine how these biological pre-cursors interact with learning to produce the end response.  Aspects such as Motivational processes, “errors” in learning (e.g., misbehavior, “superstitious” behavior), and the relationship between the training context and an organism’s niche will be examined.  The hope is to better account for how ethological principles and biology in general combine with learning to better produce the desired trained responses in animals.


Eduardo J. Fernandez, Ph.D.

Eduardo J. Fernandez graduated with his M.S. in Behavior Analysis from the University of North Texas, where he was the co-founder and President of the Organization for Reinforcement Contingencies with Animals (ORCA). Eduardo runs the Animal Reinforcement Forum (ARF) listserv, which is dedicated to group discussions on animal training and behavior from a scientific perspective, runs the IU Zoo research group, which focuses on behavioral research in zoo settings at Indiana University, edits for the Pets, Zoos, and Animals section on the Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies website, is the Chair and Program Chair of the Association for Behavior Analysis’s Special Interest Group, the Animal Trainer’s Forum, and is a board member of the Animal Behavior Management Alliance (ABMA). He is currently working on a doctorate degree in Psychology with a minor in Animal Behavior and Neural Science at Indiana University in Bloomington, and spends much of his time conducting animal welfare, behavioral enrichment, and animal training/operant/respondent research in the laboratory and at the Indianapolis and Cincinnati Zoo.

Refund Policy: The course fee will be refunded, in its entirety, so long as the enrollee requests a refund in writing no later than the 14th day after the course is purchased. Alternatively, the enrollee may request an exchange or credit toward a different course, instead of a refund.