Advertisement

Incorporating the Portable Operant Research and Teaching Laboratory into Undergraduate Introduction to Behavior Analysis Courses

  • Rob J. GoodhueEmail author
  • Szu Chi Liu
  • Traci M. CihonEmail author
Original Paper

Abstract

The use of operant chambers for research and teaching in behavior analysis is in decline due to the expense, maintenance, and ethical considerations of such complex mechanical apparati (Venneman and Knowles in Teach Psychol 32(1):66–68, 2005.  https://doi.org/10.1207/s15328023top3201_13). Other technologies for testing and demonstrating behavioral principles have emerged in the pursuit of creating free operant paradigms that are accessible and effective for students and economical for institutions. One example is virtual programs that emulate the behavior of organisms such as CyberRat and Sniffy (Graham et al. in Behav Res Methods Instrum Comput 26(2):134–141, 1994.  https://doi.org/10.3758/bf03204606; Ray in CyberRat (version 1.0), Brown & Benchmark, Madison, 1996; Behav Philos 39:203–301, 2011). Recently, a new instrument has been developed—the Portable Operant Research and Teaching Lab (PORTL; Rosales-Ruiz and Hunter in Operants 4:34–36, 2016). PORTL is a tabletop apparatus comprised of various objects and tools that enable students to experience and manage free operant situations. In addition to its instructional benefits, PORTL provides a setting for basic research to be completed quickly and ethically with human participants. The purpose of this paper is to outline how to incorporate PORTL into undergraduate behavior analysis courses. Several examples of how PORTL has been incorporated into such courses, including sample exercises, are provided as a model for other course instructors.

Keywords

Laboratory-based instruction Operant chambers PORTL Undergraduate students 

Notes

Acknowledgements

We would like to extend our most sincere thanks to Dr. Jesus Rosales-Ruiz and Ms. Mary Hunter who originally brought the PORTL technology to our attention for use in the Behavior Principles I and II courses. Without their hard work and resulting technology this manuscript and the current PORTL instructional design sequence would not have been possible. Some readers might be interested in contacting them to obtain access to the forthcoming PORTL manual entitled, “The Portable Operant Research and Teaching Lab: A manual”. They may be contacted at Jesus.Rosales-Ruiz@unt.edu or mehhunter@gmail.com, respectively.

References

  1. Adams, O., Cihon, T. M., Urbina, T., & Goodhue, R. J. (2017). The comparative effects of cumulative and unitary SAFMEDS terms in an introductory undergraduate behavior analysis course. European Journal of Behavior Analysis.  https://doi.org/10.1080/15021149.2017.1404394.Google Scholar
  2. Alloway, T., Wilson, G., & Graham, J. (2005). Sniffy: The virtual rat: Pro version 2.0. Thomson: Wadsworth.Google Scholar
  3. Armshaw, B., Cihon, T. M., & Lopez, C. (in preparation). The effects of exploratory logs and instructor feedback on student identification of functional relations in undergraduate behavior analysis courses.Google Scholar
  4. Cihon, T. M., Kieta, A., & Glenn, S. (2017). Teaching behavior analysis with behavior analysis: 30 years of a work in progress. European Journal of Behavior Analysis.  https://doi.org/10.1080/15021149.2017.1404393.Google Scholar
  5. Cooper, J. O., Heron, T. E., & Heward, W. L. (2007). Applied behavior analysis (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.Google Scholar
  6. Cunningham, P. F. (2003). Animal use, student choice, and nonanimal alternatives at “America’s Best” undergraduate colleges. Teaching of Psychology, 30, 288–296.  https://doi.org/10.1207/s15328023top3004_02.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Epting, L. K., & Green, T. D. (2011). Basic behavioral principles in action: An easy human operant lab for the classroom. Journal of Behavioral and Neuroscience Research, 9(2), 75–87.Google Scholar
  8. Ferster, C. B. (1953). The use of the free operant in the analysis of behavior. Psychological Bulletin, 50(4), 263–274.  https://doi.org/10.1037/h0055514.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Gilbert, T. F. (1962). Mathetics: The technology of education. The Journal of Mathetics, 1, 7–78.Google Scholar
  10. Graf, S. (1995). Three nice labs, no real rats: A review of three operant laboratory simulations. The Behavior Analyst, 18, 301–306.  https://doi.org/10.1007/bf03392717.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Graham, J., Alloway, T., & Krames, L. (1994). Sniffy, the virtual rat: Simulated operant conditioning. Behavior Research Methods, Instruments, and Computers, 26(2), 134–141.  https://doi.org/10.3758/bf03204606.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Hofstein, A., & Lunetta, V. N. (1982). The role of the laboratory in science teaching: Neglected aspects of research. Review of Educational Research, 52(2), 201–217.  https://doi.org/10.3102/00346543052002201.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Hofstein, A., & Lunetta, V. N. (2004). The laboratory in science education: Foundations for the twenty-first century. Science Education, 88(1), 28–54.  https://doi.org/10.1002/sce.10106.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Hofstein, A., & Mamlok-Naaman, R. (2007). The laboratory in science education: The state of the art. Chemistry Education Research and Practice, 8(2), 105–107.  https://doi.org/10.1039/b7rp90003a.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Investigating human behavior with non-human subjects. (n.d.). Retrieved May 5, 2018 from http://ehs.siu.edu/about/non-human-subjects.html.
  16. Jakubow, J. J. (2007). Review of the Book Sniffy the virtual rat pro version 2.0. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 87(2), 317–323.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Karp, H. J. (1995). Rat lab for fun and profit. The Behavior Analyst, 18(1), 147–154.  https://doi.org/10.1007/bf03392700.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Keller, F. S. (1968). Good-bye, teacher... Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 1(1), 79–89.  https://doi.org/10.1901/jaba.1968.1-79.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Kieta, A. R., Cihon, T. M., & Abdel-Jalil, A. (2018). Problem solving from a behavioral perspective: Implications for behavior analysts and educators. Journal of Behavioral Education.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10864-018-9296-9.Google Scholar
  20. Lerman, D. C. (2003). From the laboratory to community application: Translational research in behavior analysis. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 36(4), 415–419.  https://doi.org/10.1901/jaba.2003.36-415.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Miller, L. K. (2006). Principles of everyday behavior analysis. Belmont, CA: Thomson/Wadsworth.Google Scholar
  22. Peterson, G. (2004). A day of great illumination: B. F. Skinner’s discovery of shaping. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 82(3), 317–328.  https://doi.org/10.1901/jeab.2004.82-317.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. PSY 1401 Rat Lab. (n. d.). Retrieved May 5, 2018 from http://dickmalott.com/psy-1401-rat-lab/.
  24. Ray, R. D. (1996). CyberRat (version 1.0). Madison, WI: Brown & Benchmark.Google Scholar
  25. Ray, R. D. (2011). CyberRat, Interbehavioral systems analysis, and a “turing test” trilogy. Behavior and Philosophy, 39, 203–301.Google Scholar
  26. Rosales-Ruiz, J., & Hunter, M. (2016). PORTL: Your portable skinner box. Operants, 4, 34–36.Google Scholar
  27. Sidman, M. (2007). The analysis of behavior: What’s in it for us? Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 87(2), 309–316.  https://doi.org/10.1901/jeab.2007.82-06.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Sidman, M. (2011). Can an understanding of basic research facilitate the effectiveness of practitioners? Reflections and personal perspectives. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 44, 973–991.  https://doi.org/10.1901/jaba.2011.44-973.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Skinner, B. F. (1938). The behavior of organisms: An experimental analysis. New York: Appleton-Century.Google Scholar
  30. Skinner, B. F. (1992). “Superstition” in the pigeon. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 121(3), 273–274.  https://doi.org/10.1037/h0055873.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Thiry, H., Laursen, S., & Hunter, A. (2011). What experiences help students become scientists? A comparative study of research and other sources of personal and professional gains for STEM undergraduates. The Journal of Higher Education, 82(4), 357–388.  https://doi.org/10.1080/00221546.2011.11777209.Google Scholar
  32. Tobin, K. G. (1990). Research on science laboratory activities. In pursuit of better questions and answers to improve learning. School Science and Mathematics, 90, 403–418.  https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1949-8594.1990.tb17229.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. U.S. Department Agriculture, Animal Welfare Act. (2015). Chapter 54: Transportation, sale, and handling of certain animals (7. U.S.C Sec. 2131). Retrieved from https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/USCODE-2015-title7/html/USCODE-2015-title7-chap54.htm.
  34. Venneman, S. S., & Knowles, L. (2005). Sniffing out efficacy: Sniffy Lite, a virtual animal lab. Teaching of Psychology, 32(1), 66–68.  https://doi.org/10.1207/s15328023top3201_13.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Behavior AnalysisThe University of North TexasDentonUSA

Personalised recommendations