Typical Operant Conditioning Experiment

In most operant conditioning experiments, an animal is placed in a special chamber which is called a Skinner box after the man that developed operant conditioning. A typical operant chamber, which is shown in Figure 1, has a response key or lever and a place for delivering food. The animal's responses are counted by a computer and also recorded on a roll of paper that shows the distribution of responses over time. Although the experimental chamber in Figure 1 is designed for animals, operant conditioning procedures are also used to examine drug effects in humans. In these studies, the person may sit in a chair and respond by moving a joystick or perhaps sit at a keyboard and respond to stimuli on a computer screen.

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