ORCA (the Organization for Reinforcement Contingencies with Animals) has announced today that registration is now open for their 2015 conference! The conference will be held March 14 in Denton, Texas (just north of Dallas).
I have attended the Art and Science of Animal Training Conference every year since it first started in 2009 and it is by far one of my favorite conferences. The speakers always have so much good information to share about animal training and animal behavior. Even though it’s only a one day conference, we regularly have attendees from over 20 states and even some foreign countries. I have notes from most all of the past conferences on this Conference and Clinics Notes page.
This year’s keynote speaker is Dr. Stanley Weiss. Other speakers will include Bob Bailey, Alexandra Kurland, Ken Ramirez, Steve White, Phung Luu, and more.
Dr. Weiss is an expert on stimulus control and animal models of addiction. He will be discussing “Differential reinforcement and the stimulus control of behavior.” I think this will be a great talk. Stimulus control is a pretty complex topic and I think we all can benefit from understanding it better. I also hear that Ken Ramirez will be discussing his experiences teaching concepts to dogs (modifier cues, adduction, mimicry, and more) and also highlight his recent research in teaching dogs to count.
Here’s the abstract for Dr. Weiss’ talk:
Differential Reinforcement and the Stimulus Control of Behavior
A primary objective of psychology is the prediction of behavior. Operationally, that means what an individual will do in a particular situation can be anticipated. When this is possible, we have identified, and understand, the conditions influencing the individual’s behavior. The fact that the behaviors of those we interact with seldom surprise us is an indication that they are behaving as expected and therefore under stimulus control. Imagine what our world would be like if they weren’t. This presentation will discuss how stimulus control is acquired. It will progress from simple biologically predisposed reflexive actions to behaviors that are the product of the differential consequences of one’s behavior in different situations. A simple example: One learns that they should use different language and manners when speaking to a teacher than to a fellow student. An understanding of stimulus control phenomena and its related processes can help you better understand your own behavior as well as the behavior of other animals.
To find out more about the conference, visit the ORCA website. I’m really excited, even though the conference is still four months away. If you’ll be attending, let me know, as I’d love to get to say “Hi” to you in person.