Early behavior analysts broke behavior down into a treacherous matrix of four judgements plus extinction. They taught us that negatives and positives, punishers and reinforcers all fit into tidy categories of wholesome goodness and hellacious badness. When the Constructional Aggression Treatment was first presented as Kellie Snider’s MS thesis research in 2006 it was met with both excitement and concern. It was exciting because nearly anything that might improve our ability to help dogs with aggression is exciting. It was concerning because of that dastardly term, negative reinforcement, which is hurriedly herded into the hellacious badness category. Also, the research procedure back then was clunky, and some dogs went over threshold. We found out what we needed to know, but our audience worried. The good news you should know is that many dogs were helped in the course of the research and more than 60 species have been helped since.
In this presentation Kellie performs a brief postmortem on the early dissemination of CAT and redefines the procedure with a more robust explanation of the essential relationship between function and construction, even going so far as to explain how CAT should not be distilled down into a negative reinforcement trope. She will discuss the addition of the term “alert” to supplement “threshold”, and will answer questions at the end of the talk. She hopes that you’ll leave this presentation feeling very cozy in the wholesome goodness category, or, perhaps even better, with a whole lot more questions.