Saturday, March 26

Put the Function in the Environmental Relationship

Koda doesn't like my new book. XD
Behavioral Science.

Uh. Well, you get the point.

Sitting there, listening to what behavior science is - outside, of course, of the realm of dog training - I got hung up on a term. It's just this concept that took me by surprise, simply because it was so obvious that it wasn't actually obvious at all.

We talk about nominal fallacies - putting names to things we don't understand and calling them explained, right?
But that something so obvious to me actually had a scientific term and definition swept my feet right out from under me...and I don't know why.

Functional Relationship.
Scientifically: It's the tendency of one even to vary in a regular way with one or more other events.
And I'm pretty sure that's verbatim from the book I'm reading, though I haven't picked it up in over two weeks.
(That book, by the way, is called First Course in Applied Behavior Analysis.)

I read that over and over again, because though I understand what that it - what a functional relationship is - I couldn't make the connection to the definition.

Simple reason why: too many variables in one statement. "Vary in a regular way" with "one or more other events." Ah, it sounds complicated.

So, go turn off your lights. (It is, by the way, currently Earth Hour as I'm writing this, so all lights are off, but the computer is on.) 
That's one event.
"Varies in a regular way."
To be honest - something usually happens when you flip the switch, but that doesn't mean it will. There's always the possibility that your fuse box doesn't work, the light bulb has blown, or you don't have any electricity in your house.
But something usually happens when you flip the switch.

A functional relationship is a functional relationship because of ABC.
ABC (not the animal behavior college, but antecedent -> behavior -> consequence)
Have you ever thought about why it's not ABP?
Bet not.
Antecedents have postcedents
and behaviors have consequences.

But the fact is, not many of the connections we make between antecedent and consequence are actually postcedents.
So, what I'm trying to say is that very few things in this world have causal relationships.

Why couldn't I put my finger on this functional relationship thing?
Because a functional relationship is a correlation.
And it was so obvious that I was oblivious.

Know the difference?
A causal relationship. This is one one thing causes another thing to happen. It's very black and white. 
In Koda speak, sitting in front of the door usually causes mom to let her out.
A correlation is a functional relationship.
Koda speak again: there's just something about putting her butt on the floor. Good stuff seems to happen. doesn't always cause something good to happen. Sometimes nothing happens. But usually, that event (butt on floor) varies in a regular way with one or more events (food, going outside, love from mom, or a good chew toy).

Guess it's a little funny. I was over thinking it.
And doodling while I was supposed to be listening, but doodling helps me listen because I have very little in the way of focus. ^-^;;

This blog is not Koda-Approved. Koda would very much like for me to pick up her dang leash and take her for a walk. Darn it.

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