Further to this post on learning theory, here’s a little video I recently came across that offers some challenge to the basic ideas put forth by Skinner.  Now the video does say that the classic reward based positive reinforcement seems to still hold true for mechanical activity, but when it comes to more mentally challenging tasks, this theory falls apart.  At least for humans.

The conclusions drawn in this video are pretty self-evident, but from a “scientific” perspective they had to do experiments to come to this conclusion (just like they had to do “scientific” studies to prove that goats were efficient at eating back shrubbery – this ideology of sciencism is really getting out of control!). What I like about this “new” understanding of motivation is that it flies in the face of the dominant theory that we (humans) are only motivated by self-interest and gain. Our entire economic system is built on this belief, and is failing the vast majority of the global population quite spectacularly.

How -or if- this applies to dog training is something I’m still mulling over.  Would love to hear people’s thoughts if anyone cares to comment.