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Wouldn't it be nice to have someone or something to act exactly how you want them to? To do what you tell them to?

Believe it or not , this can happen and in some ways it's quite easy.

The other day I was on YouTube and I came across this amazing VIDEO of Eddie the California Sea Otter at the Oregon Zoo shooting some hoops in the pool. (If you have not seen it yet, click on the link its truly amazing). After about five minutes of laughing and showing my friends this cute and interesting video I begun to think to myself "HOW?"


After some quick researching the answer I found was Positive Reinforcement. Essentially every time Eddie [the Sea Otter] displayed a favorable action the trainers would feed him and every time he did something they didn't want him to do they simply ignored him completely. Note they didn't use any form of punishment , they just ignored him. By doing this persistently Eddie learned that when he did certain things he would get rewarded with attention and eventually food. By breaking down this action of shooting hoops into smaller steps over time, Eddie was able to learn how to do them perfectly every time! You can read more HERE about how different animals learn how to do their tricks ! In other cases , different actions may call for different reinforcement tactics.

The training technique of Positive Reinforcement can be used on a large array of animals...even humans ! Its essentially the same thing , if someone always says something to you that makes you upset, do not give that person your attention. When they say or do something nice respond (usually in a positive way) . After periods of time that person will learn that when they say or do (something that you do not like) it will not get them a response and all together the action might get extinguished. To learn more about training humans read THIS !


1 Comment

Hi there after reading your article I already assume you have seen a similar video about elephants painting. If not here is the link, its pretty cool but not nearly as cute as the otters.

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