Understanding Psychology

Chapter 9: Learning: Principles and Applications

Web Activity Lesson Plans

"Talk To the Animals"

Students have read about learning principles and their applications. In this lesson, students will learn how these techniques can be used to produce positive results. Animal trainers put the principles of learning into action, enhancing the lives of captive animals and their trainers.

Lesson Description
Students will use information from the Sea World/Busch Gardens Animal Information Database Web site and the Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies Web site to learn how animal trainers employ the methods of classical conditioning, operant conditioning, and social learning to achieve desired animal behaviors. Students will apply this information by writing a report comparing the effects of using positive conditioning techniques (based on learning principles) to train animals as opposed to aversive methods (based on social dominance and punishment).

Instructional Objectives
  1. Students will be able to gather information on how learning principles are employed in a commercial setting.
  2. Students will be able to identify the different components of conditioning techniques and recognize their employment in the training of animals.
  3. Students will be able to use this knowledge to write a report on how using positive conditioning techniques in training can have a positive effect on captive animals and their trainers.
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