Learning Lab Essay


At the beginning of the semester, we assigned ourselves a group. We were later provided with a cubicle letter, after which we were introduced to the separate used to train rats. Each group was given a rat to stay with it for the whole semester. The professor gave us a condition that we were not supposed to use perfume. This is because rats are extremely sensitive to smell. The professor said that they could smell anything. Any type of fragrance used could therefore, distract it. When the professor placed the rat for the first time in the cubicle, the rat showed signs of fear. Indeed, the rat started defecating and pissing, a clear sign that it was afraid. To reduce the fear, we put the lights off and used a small lamp that was meant to make the rat more comfortable and provide some privacy. We expected that the rat would soon familiarize itself with the operate chamber and reduce the emotions. This would enable us perform the experiment better.

Magazine training

Before the professor brought the rat in to the operate chamber, we had placed few pellets in to the dispenser, to make him close to the dispenser during the time. Pellets are special food that tastes like chocolate and rats like them. At first, we gave the rat one pellet at a time. We gave the rat the pellet to eat so that we could prepare it for shaping, from the release of the food to associate with the noise when we pressed the trigger. The aim of this segment was to make the rat get used to the noise and pair the food with the sound of the delivery.


In this section, we shaped the lever and pressed responses. We started by placing the rat in a box with pellets. Afterwards, we waited for the rat to move back from the dispenser. We then pressed the trigger and the rat turned back to eat. We repeated this section several times until the rat learned that, every time he turned to the left side, he would get a pellet. For every time the rat turned its head on the left side, we gave it a pellet. This made the rat to get used to the fact that when the lever was located on the left side of his body, it was time to turn left. At that time, the rat would place its head above the lever. Each time the rat placed its head on the lever, it would get a pellet. This was the work of the approximation bar press. The aim of this segment was to let the rat learn how to press the lever.

CRF baseline following shaping

At this segment, the rat responded well to the movement of the lever. It was getting used to the surrounding because it had learned how to feed itself from the lever. It made it to be well shaped because what it needed was only pressing the lever and getting the pellet.


In this segment, demonstration has not shaped the rat. What we wanted to see was the relationship between the food and the sound. The rat stopped responding when we removed the sound. This was an indication that it was shaping and showed abrupt responses when there was sound. The rat was so confused because he was not getting any food every time it pressed the bar, so it stopped pressing the bar because it was not getting anything back. In figure one, EXT 1, we recorded for the first five minutes CRF responses. Starting at minute 6, we switched to EXT 1 and continued to record responses per minutes till the end. At minute 11, the animal stopped showing responses and went to sleep. The purpose of this segment was to record the responses, whether the animal showed any reaction to the EXT or not. From the demonstration, it is clear that the rat reacted by giving up and could not do any further work throughout the day.


In this segment, complete extinction from the animal was depicted. We recorded responses per minute and no food was given to the rat. As a result, the rat at minute nine stopped showing any responses and gave up completely. Nevertheless, at minute 25, the animal tried one more time but there were not reinforces for it. The animal reaction was so obvious; it was so angry and desperate because it pressed the bar so many times without getting a thing in return. The rat gave up because it used to work very hard to press the bar yet there were no pellets. The aim of this segment is to test how aggressive the rat reacted to the EXT.

FR stretch

In this segment, we stretched the schedule responses from one to three. For the first 5 minutes, the rat was put in FR1. This meant that it would get a pellet for every response per minute. Secondly, at minute 6 we switched to FR 2 meaning that the animal would only receive one pellet for every two responses per minutes. Thirdly, at minute 11 we switched to FR 3 meaning that the animal would only receive one pellet for every 3 responses and so on until the  end of the experiment. The aim of this section was to test whether the animal still pressed the bar as long it received reinforces. We aimed at testing how the rat reacted after  reinforces.

FR baseline 1

In this segment, the animal was placed into the operate chamber with FR3 until end, for 30 minutes. We recorded the responses per minutes. The animal showed responses because it was still receiving reinforces even though it had to work very hard. At minute 25, it gave up. The purpose of this segment was to demonstrate that the animal, despite the fact that it had to work hard by showing many responses, it still did it until the 25th minute. Indeed, it did it well.

Sessions of discrimination training using a go-no paradigm

This was the final segment. We recorded responses and reinforces based on light for three days. We would put the light off and on throughout three days. When the lights were on the rat would find reinforces but if it was off, it would not find reinforces. In the first day the rat’s reinforces when the lights were on was 56 and responses on light off was 86. In the second day, the animal reinforces with lights on was 104 and responses on light off was 89. On the third day, the animal reinforces with lights on was 101 and responses on light off was 54. The purpose of this segment was to test if the animal followed up that he would get reinforces when the light were on but not when the light were off.