Operant Conditioning with Dolphins

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The Relation between Soca and Psychology
This past January, my husband and I went to the Bahamas, and had an amazing experience. I never thought that swimming with Soca would be such an interesting Psychology class. Soca is 13 years old dolphin from the Dolphin Encounters in Nassau, Bahamas. Our experience started with a fun, interactive, orientation briefly covering the natural history of dolphins, animal training techniques, ocean conservation and Watchable Wildlife Guidelines. After that, our trainer took us to the platform to meet Soca. She is so cute and intelligent; our first contact was a heart-warming kiss. Following that, Soca showed some of her dance moves, we were able to feed her, rub her belly, tong, and teeth. During the encounter Soca saw some of her friends and got really distracted because she wants to play with them, she kept swimming way to follow the other dolphins. Since she wasn’t collaborating and she can’t be forced to do anything, the trainer decided to put Soca in time out for a couple minutes, she instructed us to ignore Soca, not looking at her. The trainer put Soca away in the tank and five to ten minutes later she came back to finalize our experience with a big hug. Swimming with the dolphin provided me a close look in many of the learning principles studied in Psychology such as classical and operant conditioning. Animal training

Marine mammal trainers were not the first to use operant conditioning techniques. In the early 1930's, a behavioral psychologist named B.F. Skinner defined the manner in which one could use reinforcement to increase the chances that mice would repeatedly perform the same behavior over and over again. This idea, using a "reward" for every correct response by an animal, was the beginning step for marine mammal trainers seeking to define dolphin training as a science. How to train dolphins?

There are two approaches to training dolphins: classical conditioning, and operant conditioning. Classical...
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