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Cassidy Blaikie

A laboratory report
Presented to Jennifer Gauthier
In Psychology 210
Learning Psychology

Department of Psychology
St. Francis Xavier University
February 23, 2007


The purpose of this experiment was to test whether training a simulated rat under a Partial Reinforcement Schedule took longer to extinguish than being trained in a Continuous Reinforcement Schedule. The subject involved was a computer based rat. The rat was trained in a Skinner box to bar press under each a continuous reinforcement schedule and a partial reinforcement schedule. Extinction of both schedules was done and times were reported. The hypothesis was that a rat under a partial reinforcement schedule would take longer to extinguish its behaviour rather than the continuous reinforcement schedule extinction. Results were analyzed under the complications of the conditioning of the animal under these schedules.

Studying the behaviours of animals has been a great importance to many psychologists. By studying animal behaviours, researchers can determine what influences them, whether it is their surrounding environment, reinforcements or stimuli. A very famous psychologist, Burrhus Frederic Skinner enjoyed studying animal behaviours. Skinner believed that any response that is followed by a reinforcing stimulus tends to be repeated (Hergenhahn and Olson, 2005). He also says that to modify a behaviour, one merely has to find something that is reinforcing for the animal whose behaviours one wishes to modify (Hergenhahn and Olson, 2005). Skinner explains this in his Skinner box studies. A Skinner box refers to an experimental test chamber that consists of a grid floor, lever, light and food cup (Hergenhahn and Olson, 2005). Mainly used to study operant conditioning, which refers to increasing the rate at which a response occurs (Hergenhahn and Olson, 2005). These studies involve rats and observing...
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