Date of Award

Summer 7-9-2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Diana Reiss

Second Advisor

Martin Chodorow

Academic Program Adviser

Diana Reiss


The National Aquarium in Baltimore, Maryland conducted a training program in 2014 to develop a gestural command for their dolphins called “innovate”. This training paradigm was developed to resemble the seminal research by Pryor, Haag and O’Reilly (1969), as well as more recent efforts of Braslau-Schneck (1993) and Kuczaj and Eskelinen (2014) of training dolphins to offer “creative” behaviors not developed through conventional methods of behavioral modification, such as shaping. The goal of the present study was to observe records taken during the National Aquarium’s training procedure as well as data collected ~3 years after said training in order to analyze and observe training practices and resulting learning of the task among the trainers and dolphins. All subjects developed an understanding of the task “do something different” and exhibited patterns in the learning process similar to those reported by Pryor, Haag and O’Reilly (1969), as well as strategies used to complete this task similar to those reported by Kuczaj and Eskelinen (2014).



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