Friday, May 11, 2012

Why are you doing that??

Ohhh, of course darling, we know all about behavior.......
like I was just telling Peter, simply fascinating!

Something to think about:

1.  Why are you doing whatever you are doing right now? At least one of those things is reading this post, I know (smart, aren't I?) so I will use that. I know you are not reading this post instinctively.... even if you are not absorbing anything at this moment (this would be the point in the conversation my Mom would throw in "and then the dog drove to the store" to catch my Dad) at some point you starting reading my blog for a reason. I doubt it was because it was here, otherwise my readership would be over 7 billion, very impressive if I do say so myself, but not true. So perhaps it is because you have a parrot, reasonable enough, or would like one. That does not mean you inherently will read everything on parrots, plenty of people with parrots do not. So I can without too huge a leap assume it is because you are interested in parrots, or that you wanted to change something about your parrot, or about yourself in reference to your parrot, like care, etc. Going deeper, why are you interested in parrots, or why do you care to spend time changing something? Could it be you get pleasure out of learning more, or pleasure from the parrot, and therefore wish to improve their life? Or could it be that your parrot is driving you crazy, and you wish to change that- but then, why change it rather than re-home the parrot? Could it be for some reason you enjoy being around/having them?

This is the gold nugget in the bottom of that pan- you are doing the behavior, in this case reading my blog, for a reward!

Got it? Reading my blog is a behavior, and there is a reason for this behavior.

"bathing" in the food dish:

I have my reasons.........

2.  Look at any other area in your life. Can you really think of something that you do for no reason? If you can do it, it is a behavior. Period. There are various reasons for behaviors, and your reason may be quite unusual, or even non-discernible to yourself, but there is one. If you hate your job, why do you work? For money, or if an internship, to get money later (complex thinking, that, looking to the future!) It is easy to point out gold stars or ice cream cones as rewards for children, or bribes for adults (and yes, sometimes those two examples mix) but those are hardly the only time rewards are handed out, far from it. And likewise, there are many more punishments than being spanked for doing x as a child, or getting a speeding ticket for going too fast.

-Your reason for eating breakfast could be to stop being hungry (negative punishment, the removal of something unpleasant because of the behavior)
-or because you feel so much more awake after eating (positive reinforcement, adding something desired because of the behavior) 
- but if you take too long eating your continental breakfast you will be late for whatever it is you do (positive punishment, adding something undesired because of the behavior) 
- while if you eat all your dinner leftovers for breakfast, you will have none for lunch (negative reinforcement, the removal of something pleasant because of the behavior)

Got that? Looking at this, I can tell that I have learned to eat breakfast for two reasons, and what to eat for another two. Throw away what you think these four behavior terms should mean. You just need to know four meanings: negative is subtraction (the removal of x) positive is addition (adding X); punishment is something you dislike (even if someone else likes it) and reinforcement is something you like (even if others hate it.) So mix those four terms, and you have the four reasons for a behavior to continue, or to die out.

Floofing my feathers:

I feel more comfortable with them all in place!

Complex stuff, behavior. But not unreachable! There is a reason for your parrot's behavior just as there is for yours, just as there is for every living creature. Anything you can do is a behavior, and there is always a reason for any behavior that continues. Very important to remember, though, it might NOT be what you think is logical- if the behavior continues, there is still a reason. Period.

I miss you, budgies. Rest in Peace.

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