Understanding Psychology

Chapter 9: Learning: Principles and Applications

Student Web Activites

"Talk To the Animals"

Animal trainers in aquariums, zoos, and theme parks use the principles of classical conditioning, operant conditioning, and social learning to teach captive animals desired behavior. By using the techniques of conditioning, trainers are no longer dependent upon social dominance and punishment to train their animals. Use the Internet to research how trainers employ learning techniques to make life in captivity more humane and rewarding for animals.

Web sites
Sea World/Busch Gardens Animal Information Database
Millions of people visit the marine mammals at zoological parks like Sea World every year. See how the trainers at Sea World train their animals through various stimuli in their environment.

Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies
See how animal training has changed from traditional training techniques to positive reinforcement methods.

Note: Clicking on the link above will launch a new browser window. Need help using your browser for this activity? Click here for tips.

On a separate sheet of paper, write a report comparing the effects of using positive conditioning techniques (based on learning principles) in animal training as opposed to aversive techniques (based on social dominance and punishment) on animals in captivity. Imagine you were an animal trainer at a zoological park. How would you prefer to train your animal(s)?

Glencoe Online Learning CenterSocial Studies HomeProduct InfoSite MapContact Us

The McGraw-Hill CompaniesGlencoe