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How to Teach a Monkey to Skateboard

Posted by Jody Urquhart on Thu, Feb 11, 2016 @ 01:13 PM

motivational speakerTrainers have been training monkey to ride skate boards for decades. Only in the last ten years did someone try to use the same principle to train a husband.

That researcher was Amy Sutherland, a freelance writer for the New York Times. After studying how trainers teach mammals to behave differently, she used the same techniques on her husband, and it worked.

So, How do you train a monkey? Well, It doesn't involve punishment. Instead, trainers reward each simple step towards the goal.
When a monkey moved towards the skateboard, he was rewarded, when he played with it, he was rewarded, when he fell off it, he was rewarded.

Knowing that reinforcing positive behaviour is key to change, Amy set out to praise small changes. If her husband picked up his socks, she noticed, if he put his plate in the dishwasher, she gushed. If he didn't burn the lasagna, she made a special desert.

She set small goals, praised them and gradually his habits changed.

Reinforcement doesn't have to be condescending or come within a power dynamic. Instead, it's a consistent and  persistent habit of noticing positive momentum.

This works because, change isn't an event like moist people treat it, but it's a process.
At some point, the inertia switches from resisting change to supporting it.

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