Cyber Rat: Variable Schedules

Cyber Rat: Variable Schedules

 

Objectives

Starting with a CRF schedule, to move a rat to an intermittent schedule and gradually thin the schedule while maintaining behavior.
To examine the effects of intermittent reinforcement on responding.Prerequisite ReadingCyberRat User’s ManualMaterialsLab Report form:  Download Lab Report form:This is the form on which you’ll report on the results of this exercise. Save it on your computer in a place where you can open it later and add information to it. You will turn in this completed form by attaching it on this page.InstructionsLaunch the CyberRat program.Choose a new rat that is Bar Press Trained-CRF.Set experimental parameters. Some are accessible from the upper left menu button and some are in the lower right area of the screen:Reinforcement Schedule: CRF (Continuous Reinforcement)Simulation Mode: Fast Simulation (No Video)Session’s Duration: 60 minutes

Start the experiment. When finished, save the file but answer “No” when asked if you want to mark it “Assignment Completed.”

Set parameters for the next session.

Reinforcement Schedule: Choose one of the four basic intermittent schedules of reinforcement: fixed ratio (FR), variable ratio (VR), fixed interval (FI), or variable interval (VI). Your remaining sessions in this exercise will all use the same reinforcement schedule that you choose at this point, progressively thinning the schedule for each subsequent session. You want to avoid straining the ratio, i.e., extinction due to a reinforcer-per-response ratio that is too small to maintain responding.

Ratio or Interval: From the sliding scale, select the value that will be used in the first session under the intermittent schedule you chose.

If you chose one of the ratio schedules (FR or VR), the largest ratio value available is 56 lever presses, so your goal will be to work your way up to an FR56 or VR56 schedule on which responding is consistent.

If you chose one of the interval schedules (FI or VI), the largest interval value available is 280 seconds, so your goal will be to work your way up to an FI280s or VI280s schedule on which responding is consistent.

Simulation Mode: Fast Simulation (No Video)

Session’s Duration: 60 minutes

Start the experiment. As the session proceeds, watch the numbers of responses and reinforcers that accumulate. Ratio strain will be indicated if the rat stops responding well before the end of the session or if the rate of responding decreases across sessions.

Set new parameters for your second session using the intermittent schedule. The only difference between this session and the previous one will be in the value of the ratio or interval that you choose. If there appeared to be ratio strain in the previous session, you should set the value at a lower level. If there was no evidence of ratio strain and responding was consistent or increasing throughout the session, then you should increase the value.

Continue thinning the schedule in subsequent sessions until your rat achieves consistent responding at the highest ratio (56 lever presses per reinforcer) or interval (280 seconds) available. Mark your final session as “Assignment Completed.”

Create a graph set and analyze results. View all graphs using the “Compact One Line” mode.

First, graph the 60-minute fast-run CRF session. This should be the first session you conducted with this rat, although when you look at the rat’s journal, you’ll see the records of previous sessions that were conducted with this rat in order to get to the lever-press trained level. Add this graph as the first graph in the set.

Add additional graphs to the set. A maximum of six graphs can be saved as a set. So if it took you more than five sessions beyond the CRF session to thin your schedule to the highest value, choose the five sessions that best represent the successive progressions you made in thinning your schedule. If you reached the highest ratio or interval value, be sure to include the graph from the first session conducted at the highest level. When you have completed the graph set, save the set.

Complete the Lab Report Form and be sure to save it.

Reminder: The Lab Report will give you practice writing reports. Please be sure your writing follows a formal style of writing. The Application Section of the Lab Report should be about two paragraphs. Remember that a paragraph is at least three sentences. This section should include key vocabulary that you have learned up to this point to show how you are applying the concepts you have learned.

 

Cyber Rat: Variable Schedules

 

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