Psych M.D. - Operant Chamber


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Term: Operant Chamber
Definition (Myers): A chamber containing a bar or key that an animal can manipulate to obtain a food or water reinforcer, with attached devices to record the animal's rate of bar pressing or key pecking. Used in operant conditioning research. 1
Definition (alternative): A box used to train animals with positive reinforcements. The animal is placed inside the box and is expected to perform a task, such as pecking or pressing. If the animal successfully performs the task, it is given a reward, usually food. 2
Contextual explanation: An operant chamber is also known as a Skinner box, named after the psychologist B.F. Skinner. The operant chamber is often used in operant conditioning experiments, and rats and pigeons are commonly used. The reinforcer or reinforcing stimulus in the experiment would be the food that the animal is receiving, and the operant would be the behavior of the animal prior to the reinforcer. The animal would continue to perform a task in order to receive a reward, and is motivated by the reinforcer to continue working. 2
Related terms and concepts: 1
Skinner Box3
4
Related websites:
Sources:
  1. Myers, D. G. (2007). Exploring Psychology Seventh Edition. New York: Worth.
  2. Boeree, C. G. (n.d.). B. F. Skinner. Retrieved September 20, 2009, from http://webspace.ship.edu/cgboer/skinner.html
  3. Introductory Psychology Image Bank. (n.d.). Retrieved September 20, 2009, from www.mhhe.com/socscience/intro/ibank/set3.htm
  4. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cl7jr9EVcjI
Edited by: Soobin
Date of last edit: September 20, 2009



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