Science - Psychology


Sniffy the Virtual Rat
Introduction to Psychology


Say "Hello" to our new class pet!  He's hypoallergenic, 100% sanitary, and you never have to clean up after him, because he doesn't even go to the bathroom.  I am excited to introduce you to Sniffy the Virtual Rat.  Sniffy lives in an Operant Chamber and is always ready to learn.  He can be trained using both Operant and Classical Conditioning.  Students will be able to introduce a variety of stimuli in order to teach Sniffy new behaviors.  At the direction of our 
students Sniffy will learn to fear the sound of a tone, anticipate various feeding schedules, and of course, press a lever. Students will make hypothesis, gather data and learn the basic principles of Classical and Operant Conditioning. (Family pets and younger siblings beware!)  Best of all, no actual animals will be harmed in the conditioning of Sniffy, but don't tell Sniffy.  He's a bit sensitive about being only a virtual rat.

Ready to get started?
Let Jim and Dwight teach you about one of the most famous experiments in the history of psychology.

Getting Started with Sniffy
  • Edward Thorndike's Law of Effect: Responses that are accompanied by satisfaction will make the response more likely to recur in a given situation.  Responses that are accompanied by discomfort will make the response less likely to recur.
  • Shaping: The procedure of rewarding behavior that is approaching the desired behavior.  
  • Stimulus: Something that evokes a reaction by triggering one of the senses.
  • Positive Reinforcement:  Adding a pleasant stimulus following a behavior in order to make the behavior more likely to recur.

Let's Start Our First Experiment!
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