What Shamu Taught Me About Life, Love, and Marriage

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Ebony Mays
April 20, 2011
Instructor: Flynn
Psychology 201 Section 4

What Shamu Taught Me About Life, Love, and Marriage

My feelings toward this self-help book are that I was unaware that a person could “train” another human being, similar to what an animal trainer does to exotic or everyday animals. I felt that the author, Amy Sutherland, wrote this self-help book to explain and give advice on how to “train” another person to do what you want them to do; without nagging or verbally demanding what you want them to do. I also felt that the techniques, which were written in this book were given to readers as a chance to improve and strengthen his/her relationship instead of destroying the relationship by making it worse. In my opinion, the techniques and advice given were amazingly interesting and that all of the reasons behind each technique made plenty sense to me.

One technique used in Shamu was the Least Reinforcing Scenario (LRS) technique. An LRS is the process of ignoring behavior you do not want, but in a very specific way. It also tell the animal that it has made a mistake, and that nothing bad will happen if it makes a mistake again. Although the LRS is not perfect, it can still manage to let the animal know that it has done unacceptable behavior. Other than animals, this technique can also be exercised toward human beings as well. One example of this technique was used by Sutherland toward her husband, mother, and also a woman from the post office.

Another technique used in this book was positive reinforcement. Instead of nagging and showing a negative result of change in behaviors in animals, Sutherland explains how the personal trainers reward the wanted behaviors and completely ignore the unwanted behaviors. One example of positive reinforcement was B.F. Skinner giving a pigeon a seed for every time it pecked on a piano key. This example demonstrates operant conditioning. Positive reinforcement techniques are more effective because it...
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