Shaping is when we give rewards for a behavior that is close to the behavior we are looking for. This is also called "shaping by successsive approximations". Basically this is a technique in the type of conditioning called operant conditioning. It is a way of teaching an organism something to do. This type of conditioning and type of technique is used in many different types of instances. I think that the place we see this most is with children. For example, when a child is learning how to write letters they are not perfect, the B might look like a D and their R's might be backwards, yet we reward the effort of this behavior with stickers and praise from teachers and parents. Also take childrens' sporting events. At a tee ball game everyone gets praised, whether they hit the ball or not. This is also an example of shaping. We reward the child for making backwards R's because they are close to R's and we reward them for swinging at the ball instead of hitting it because it is the next logical thing that will happen if they continue that action. I think that one of the most effective teaching techniques is shaping because when people recieve a reward for a certain behavior they want to keep doing it and the old adage does ring true "practice makes perfect."
Shaping the future
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