Nothing’s More Practical Theory

“If we want to learn to use a system, part of that is speeding up this process of operant conditioning – learning what’s safe, and what to avoid. Having an adequate mental model of the system seems to be a key part of that, because it lets you figure out this mapping of action to outcome.”

—David R. MacIver, “Learning to use the system.” DRMacIver’s Notebook. July 10, 2020.

Possibly my favorite blog. Reminded me of a saying of my cataloging professor, “Nothing is more practical than theory.” You can’t troubleshoot a problem if you don’t have a mental model for how the system it is part of works. Perhaps your problem is a “feature” when looked at from a different perspective.

A Pragmatic Approach To Thorny People Problems

“I once heard that “Eighty percent of what most children hear is no or some variation thereof (stop, quit, etc).” Children need parental attention. They require it for their very survival and it’s an important part of their socialization process, but most people get far more negative attention in childhood than positive.”

-Doreen Traylor, “A Pragmatic Approach To Thorny People Problems.” Date not specified.

This illustrates the notion of “no response”. You do not pay attention to problem behaviors. You ignore them. You focus, instead, on what you want to see more of. This is operational conditioning 101. Read my summary of Don’t Shoot the Karen Pryor. Better yet, read it yourself.