Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


32nd Annual Convention; Atlanta, GA; 2006

Event Details

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Symposium #306
Applying Behavior Analysis Techniques to Improving Animal Care and Welfare
Monday, May 29, 2006
10:30 AM–11:50 AM
Area: EAB; Domain: Basic Research
Chair: Allison Martin (Center for Conservation and Behavior)
Abstract: The experimental analysis of behavior has much to offer as behavioral management programs for captive animals are established, documented and refined. This session will offer a number of examples of animal training techniques that have been applied to improve the care and welfare of a variety of reptile and nonhuman primate species. Each report will offer quantitative data detailing the response of animals to the training regimes, as well as other information about the value of such training to the care of the animals. The variety of species dealt with indicates that the value of such programs is vast. Objective, quantitative reports of training programs should be reported to evaluate the effectiveness of the training, to facilitate comparisons among different institutions incorporating such training into behavioral management programs, and to help those considering such programs to better predict how quickly training can progress.
Husbandry Training for Large Reptiles.
DIANN GAALEMA (Georgia Institute of Technology)
Abstract: The training of reptiles has been less well studied than that of other taxa. In this report, findings from studies of zoo-housed Aldabra tortoises and komodo dragons are reported. Behaviors trained using positive reinforcement techniques included holding still without shifting weight, touching a target upon its presentation, and remote targeting. These behaviors were of value for moving reptiles around in their enclosures, as well as for facilitating husbandry activities such as nail clipping. Information will be reported on the number of trials and training time required to reach performance criteria. Special considerations for working with large reptiles will be described.
Training Chimpanzees for Voluntary Blood Collection and Receiving Injections.
JAINE PERLMAN (University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center), Susan Lambeth (University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center), Steve Schapiro (University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center)
Abstract: An analysis will be presented of positive reinforcement training techniques for teaching chimpanzees to cooperate with needle related behaviors, specifically presenting for injections and cooperating with voluntary blood collection procedures. The training and maintenance of these important veterinary and research management behaviors enhance the standard of care and overall welfare of captive chimpanzees.
Food Preference Testing in Orangutans.
ANDREA CLAY (Georgia Institute of Technology), Mollie Bloomsmith (Yerkes National Primate Research Center)
Abstract: This project assesses individual orangutans' food preferences over time and investigates possible correlations between changes in preference and the weather, changes in preference and foods provided in the animals’ regular diets. Identifying individual preferences and recognizing the stability or lack of stability, across time, of those preferences, could have implications for behavioral management of primates in captivity. If, for example, preferences for food items are likely to shift over time, then we might benefit from using preference assessment tests to identify currently preferred reinforcers before training sessions. Such procedures have been shown to be beneficial, for instance, in working with mentally handicapped humans and these techniques should be evaluated for application to nonhumans.
Positive Reinforcement Training of Rhesus Monkeys in a Biomedical Research Setting.
KIMBERLY A. NEU (Yerkes National Primate Research Center), Mollie Bloomsmith (Yerkes National Primate Research Center)
Abstract: Positive reinforcement training for rhesus monkeys is evaluated as a form of environmental enrichment to change behavior in species appropriate directions. Training is objectively tested to document behavioral changes outside of the time the trainer is working with the monkeys, to determine whether the behavioral effects of training generalize to other periods. Comparisons are made between the responses of males and females, between those with histories of self-injurious behaviors and those without, and between different durations of training sessions.



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