“The organism is always right”, B.F. Skinner. In other words, there is no such thing as good or bad behaviour, behaviour is a function of the environment.
When we see a behaviour we should not judge it on whether it is good or bad, we should ask; what is the function of that behaviour. in other words, what was the purpose of that behaviour. functional analysis if behaviour.
(This differs from ethology in that ethology looks at the effect of the behaviour. It looks at the consequences of the behaviours of the animal.)
If we look at consequences then we have to change consequences to try to alter the behaviour, however, if we do not change the environment then no matter how much we change the consequences we may never have an impact on the behaviour.
In functional analysis the environment (antecedents) are studied to understand how they trigger the behaviour. So to change the behaviour the environment is changed, thus resulting in a change in behaviour.
The way I this make sense to me is that functional analysis is the study of A-B-C. Ethology is the study of C-B-A.
A-B-C Training; Set the training environment up on such a way that the animal can be successful…an environment where the reinforcers are effective.
Another gem from the Training Thoughtfully Conference this year.