Shaping

Sometimes we learn new tasks using small or “baby” steps. In psychology, we refer to this as shaping, which includes learning as a result of completing successive approximations to the target behavior. Discuss something you either learned or taught (a human or an animal) using shaping techniques. Be sure to explain in detail how shaping was at work in your example. Explain how desirable behaviors (i.e., “baby steps”) were reinforced and what was the consequence of undesirable behaviors (were they punished? nonreinforced?). Be sure to define shaping, reinforcement, and/or punishment (if applicable). Use terminology from chapter 5.

(If you have trouble coming up with an example of shaping from your own life, feel free to use an example from a book, a movie, or a TV show. You can also use a hypothetical, for example: “If I had a child and wanted to teach her to use the potty…” or “If I had to train a rescue dog, I would do the following…” The point is to have you apply concepts from chapter 5 to a real-life situation.)