Shaping – a source of new behaviors
It is impossible to reinforce a behavior before it appears. It creates a problem in learning new behaviors, especially those that don’t appear in the natural environment. As a solution we shape behaviors. Shaping is the process of reinforcing successive approximations that will finally lead to desired behavior.
In order to shape a behavior we must have the skill to observe small irregularities in behaviors (e.g.: a horse who lifts his leg in a slightly different manner). We have to reinforce those behaviors that will bring us closer to the desired target, increasing criteria as we go on.