Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The Science of Consequences Heads for the Far North

Oslo (public domain)
I'm about to embark on my first overseas book tour, and I couldn't be more excited.  Norway and Sweden will be hosting me for five talks and a one-day seminar.  I'm looking forward to meeting friends and colleagues there and doing some exploring--and birding, of course.

Stockholm City Hall (public domain)
 When I was a youngster, I used to read children's books and National Geographic children's magazines about the lives of people in nations around the world, marveling at how different they were.  It seems likely that may have been useful in helping me develop some skill at perspective-taking.  Any thoughts on other methods that help?  Plenty of consequences are involved, of course--including the improved basis for communication and interaction that comes with successful perspective-taking.

Meanwhile, I find that since The Science of Consequences was published a year and a half ago, I have done over eighty book tour events--talks, book signings, and interviews.  It doesn't seem possible!

Friday, April 4, 2014

Ken Ramirez on the Benefits of Animal Training

I'm still catching up after my East Coast book tour, so I thought I'd link you to another great post by animal expert Mary Hunter, who blogs at www.stalecheerios.com.  (I've linked to her posts before.)

In this one, Mary describes a free one-hour youtube video from the Chicago Humanities Festival by biologist Ken Ramirez, a highly-respected expert in positive reinforcement-based training.  I'm fortunate to have met Ken several times now at conferences.  In The Science of Consequences, I have this to say about him:  "Talking about the move to positives, Ken Ramirez, vice president of Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium, won’t even let his trainers say 'No.' If they use reprimands, he says, they will eventually overdo it."

This one-hour video covers how training helps animals--including some benefits you probably haven't thought of--and what it's told us about animal capabilities and intelligence.  As Mary comments in her review, one of many important points Ken makes is that training is actually essential for the quality of life of most of our pets, as well as for many zoo animals.  And it helps in conservation as well (as I mention in my book).

Here's the link to Mary's blog post.  And here's the link to Ken's youtube video.  Enjoy!