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A Consequence is any event that is triggered by an earlier event. A consequence can be natural or artificial (man-made). It can also be negative, positive, or neutral.

Example of a Negative Natural Consequence: If you get your arm stuck inside a vending machine while trying to steel a pack of m&m’s, then your arm getting stuck was a natural negative consequence of trying to steel from a vending machine. It was natural because the inventor of the machine simply wanted it to be difficult steel from, he did not plan for you to actually get your arm stuck inside the machine.

Example of a positive Man-Made Consequence: If you pay a store owner for some m&m’s and the store owner lets you eat the m&m’s, then you getting to eat the m&m’s is a positive artificial consequence which was created by the store clerk who intentionally set the rules. Yum!

Example of a neutral consequence: When you buy a bag of m&m’s, the store owner puts the money in the cash register. The money went into the register as a consequence of you buying the m&m’s but for you this was a neutral consequence. You didn’t actually care what the store owner did with the money just as long as he let you eat the m&m’s.

Consequences in Parrot Training

When training parrots, or any animal for that matter, we create artificial consequences to help shape the parrot’s behavior. If the parrot says hello when we tell it to say hello, we can then give the bird a positive consequence like a treat or some loving attention as a reward. If a parrot is screaming at the top of its lungs for attention we can give it the negative consequence of being ignored it until is calm. When the bird has been calm for a while, we can then give the bird a positive consequence of attention as a reward.

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