Analysis of Sniffy The Virtual Rat Experiment

This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by professional essay writers.

29 November 2021

Remember! This is just a sample.

You can get your custom paper by one of our expert writers.

Get custom essay

76 writers online

The objective of this experiment was to check whether or not training a simulated rat underneath a Partial Reinforcement Schedule took longer to extinguish than being educated in a Continuous Reinforcement Schedule. The subject involved was a pc based rat. The rat was skilled in a Skinner field to bar press underneath every a steady reinforcement schedule and a partial reinforcement schedule. Extinction of both schedules was done and instances had been reported. The speculation was that a rat underneath a partial reinforcement schedule would take longer to extinguish its behaviour quite than the continual reinforcement schedule extinction.

Results have been analyzed beneath the issues of the conditioning of the animal underneath these schedules.

Studying the behaviours of animals has been a great significance to many psychologists. By learning animal behaviours, researchers can determine what influences them, whether or not 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’s followed by a reinforcing stimulus tends to be repeated (Hergenhahn and Olson, 2005).

He also says that to change a behaviour, one merely has to search out one thing that’s reinforcing for the animal whose behaviours one needs to change (Hergenhahn and Olson, 2005). Skinner explains this in his Skinner field research.

A Skinner box refers to an experimental check chamber that consists of a grid ground, lever, light and food cup (Hergenhahn and Olson, 2005). Mainly used to review operant conditioning, which refers to growing the speed at which a response occurs (Hergenhahn and Olson, 2005). These studies involve rats and observing the rat in the Skinner field. The rat receives meals pellets through the feeder which is accompanied by a clicking noise. Skinner journal skilled the rat which entails training the animal to approach the meals cup when it hears the press noise and/or seeing the meals come out of the food cup. This noise is then related to the food. After a number of trials of this, the rat left to bar press by itself and when the rat does bar press, this response is reinforced with meals which tends to be repeated. The extra instances this occurs, the upper the probability the response will occur once more.

To form an animal, the experimenter bolstered rats’ behaviour when it’s near the feeder and due to this fact the rat tends to remain near the feeder because of being bolstered. Shaping happens when the rat bar presses by itself. This is finished by successive approximation which is the response the rat makes is very similar to the response the experimenter desires to bolster (Hergenhahn and Olson, 2005). These trials happen by way of acquisition trials. This is the method of gaining new information from one’s observations (Hergenhahn and Olson, 2005).

This rat is beneath a continuous reinforcement schedule which where the rat is bolstered every time it makes an applicable behaviour (bar urgent on its own). Partial reinforcement schedule is the place the rat only gets strengthened typically when it bar presses, and unlike the continual reinforcement which is all the time. Extinction of the rats’ behaviour plays a large role during which schedule the rat has been trained underneath. When the rat’s behaviour is extinguished, the rat no longer bar presses to get meals as a result of it not “believes” the act will produce a reward.

This examine is necessary because the conditioning that happens throughout the totally different schedules is expounded to how easily the animal extinguishes its behaviour. Time is an element in this experiment. It is hypothesized during this study that the partial reinforcement schedule will take longer to extinguish than the continual reinforcement schedule. It is believed that partial reinforcement is more durable to extinguish as a outcome of the animal typically receives reinforcement and generally doesn’t. But the rat nonetheless makes an effort to try to see if bar urgent will finish in a reward. Continuous reinforcement extinguishes faster as a end result of the animal has all the time been reinforced and has never been lead to believe that the next bar press might not produce a reward, and through extinction, it provides up shortly.


The gear used to hold out this experiment was a computer based program located on the St. Francis Xavier University server. The program known as “Sniffy- The Virtual Rat” generated the practical responses of a rat. This program allowed experimenters to humanely find out about rats and their behaviours when positioned in a Skinner box. This program simulated what a typical rat would do on a typical day in a Skinner field.


After accessing the computer program on St. Francis Xavier’s server, the virtual rat (the subject) was shown to be wandering across the Skinner field. During the primary project, the experimenter observes Sniffy’s behaviour. This rat is untrained and had to previous testing or coaching. For the primary 10 minutes, the experimenter noticed Sniffy’s behaviour and turns into conversant in the rats’ repertoire of behaviour. These behaviours are known as baseline behaviours. After observational behaviour, the baseline frequency of bar pressing per minutes is established. The cumulative record displayed on the display reveals ticks representing the variety of bar presses the rat has made. This quantity is split by 10 to calculate the variety of bar presses per minute.

Magazine training follows bar urgent response rate. At the back of the Skinner box, is where the hopper and/or magazine is situated. This is the place the meals comes out of. The experimenter rewards Sniffy with a meals pellet when he comes close to the magazine. Sniffy will eat the meals after which the experimenter will give Sniffy another one after he finishes the primary pellet. Training repeats for 10 to fifteen reinforces. By this time, Sniffy is skilled to method the magazine whenever a meals pellet is delivered. This is tested when Sniffy is situated in a nook and a meals pellet is delivered and Sniffy comes over and eats the pellet.

The subsequent process, shaping by successive approximations, shapes Sniffy’s bar pressing behaviour. To do this, the experimenter reinforces Sniffy for behaviours which might be much like the bar pressing response. This course of gets Sniffy to comprehend that bar urgent leads to reward and producing behaviours similar to bar urgent also leads to reward. This stage is completed when Sniffy bar presses four to 5 instances inside one minute. The experimenter discontinues manually giving Sniffy a food pellet which permits Sniffy to bar press on his personal. This is visually accomplished when the cumulative record resets (peaks) a second time. Sniffy is now educated and at this stage, saving the educated Sniffy happens. Experimenter exits this system and re-opens Sniffy under a steady reinforcement schedule and is let to run round for a bit.

The next stage is extinction. Extinction is chosen from the Parameter section of the Training Schedule toolbar. During this time, Sniffy does not obtain any reinfrocment for bar urgent, which he continues to do. The experimenter timed and reported extinction baseline. This also indicated to depend the quantity of non-reinforcing bar presses Sniffy maked. Bar pressing is extinguished when Sniffy bar pressed less than three to five times in 5 minutes. Saving the experiment under a new file name occurs throughout this point.

The next stage is spontaneous recovery, the place Sniffy was faraway from the Skinner box for a outing. Reporting the number of bar presses Sniffy makes within the first two minutes of spontaneous recovery occurs right here. Saving happens right here and so does printing of the cumulative records.

The second part of the Sniffy experiment entails schedule of reinforcement. Sniffy is positioned under a partial reinforcement schedule (this Sniffy is not the one who was just trained beneath a steady reinforcement schedule, the trained Sniffy, saved the first time is used here). Observing Sniffy’s bar urgent fee for the primary minute happens right here. Now altering Sniffy to a Fixed Ratio of 25 schedule, which is chosen underneath the coaching schedule. This process occurred slowly as a outcome of giving Sniffy a large interval would trigger him to extinguish. Sniffy’s behaviour. Working in intervals of 5 worked best for this experiment. Sniffy acquired 10 pellets throughout every interval, concluding that he has been skilled beneath the brand new schedule. When Sniffy successfully obtained 10 pellets from each of the five intervals (up to 25), Sniffy is now trained beneath fastened ratio 25. Extinction adopted training. Extinction was chose from the coaching schedule. The number of Sniffy’s non-reinforced bar presses was recorded. Training was also done under a variable ratio of 25 (with the trained Sniffy, not the extinguished one). The identical course of was carried out for the variable ratio 25 as it was for the fixed ratio 25 and extinction followed. This was the tip of the experiment. Results

During project one, Sniffy’s behaviour throughout observational behaviour consisted of Sniffy smelling, wandering around the field, drinking water, scratching ears, physique, he additionally cleaned himself, looked up towards the ceiling and fixated on the wall and touched the wall by standing up on it.

Sniffy’s bar urgent response price after remark was zero. He displayed no bar pressing during this time. In appendix A, this can be seen by a straight line firstly of the cumulative document which continues for roughly 20 minutes.

Magazine coaching took roughly 22 minutes and inside that point, Sniffy did display some bar pressing. During shaping by successive approximations, training Sniffy took a long period of time. From starting to acquisition, the time frame was roughly 87 to ninety minutes. At this time, Sniffy was skilled. Sniffy’s behaviour at acquisition was bar pressing continuously, he did not transfer away from the magazine, still cleaned, scratched and licked himself in between bar urgent. Sniffy didn’t go towards the front of the box at all. Sniffy continued to drink water also. Sniffy’s price of responding when skilled was 61 bar presses inside 10 minutes. In appendix A, acquisition is labelled. Extinction was instituted roughly around the ninety five mark. Extinction was complete roughly in 4 minutes after instituted. Sniffy produced 15 non-reinforcing bar presses after extinction was initiated. During spontaneous recovery, Sniffy bar pressed 10 occasions inside the first two minutes. It took Sniffy to extinguish the behaviour in approximately three and half minutes. Appendix A additionally shows the place spontaneous recovery occurred.

During project two, in the trails of mounted ratio 25, Sniffy does continue to bar press after altering from a steady bolstered schedule to a partial reinforced schedule. This course of took a long time to perform. This process can be seen in Appendix B where every interval is reported (this sheet is double sided, where extinction is on the reverse). Throughout the trials of fixed ratio 25, extinction was instituted at a hundred thirty five minutes and extinction was completed at143 minutes and due to this fact the extinction baseline was seven minutes. Within the primary two minutes of when extinction was initiated, Sniffy bar pressed 81 occasions, with out being bolstered.

For the variable ratio of 25, Sniffy continued to bar press after being switched from a steady reinforcement schedule to a partial reinforcement schedule. This course of took the longest time to accomplish. This may be seen in appendix C, on each side of the paper. The extinction was instituted at 133 minutes, and accomplished at 148 minutes. Extinction baseline was quarter-hour. Within the primary two minutes of extinction, Sniffy bar pressed 41 occasions. Discussion

With thorough assessment of appendix A, will present that in steady reinforcement schedule and through establishment of extinction, Sniffy bar pressing was very low, in comparability with the opposite trials. Sniffy reveals extinction quite quick. Continuous reinforcement does produce quick extinction because Sniffy on this schedule always obtained rewards (food) therefore at all times content material (a response that results in a satisfying state of affairs is likely to be repeated). Sniffy by no means needed to really feel pissed off that he by no means obtained meals throughout bar urgent. When Sniffy is in the extinction trial, he learns quick that there is not any meals when he bar presses which finally ends up in frustration and shortly after offers up. Sniffy made the avoidance response, he by no means learnt that typically a reward comes, learnt on a daily basis that the reward comes.

In appendix B, Sniffy is in the continuous reinforcement schedule and beneath mounted ratio trials and after viewing the cumulative records, Sniffy steadily bar presses after extinction is initated. He then steadily bar presses slightly more then slows down. Sniffy does not extinguish quick however quicker than variable ratio. Sniffy learnt that pressing the bar so many instances produces food. Sniffy does get annoyed as a result of in acquisition he learnt to method the bar press and now there isn’t a food.

Variable ratio took the longest time to extinguish as a outcome of counter conditioning occurred. Sniffy produced tendencies of the approach response but frustration response on the same time. These are incompatible (approach-avoidance conflict). This is why on this trial, Sniffy’s cumulative report continues to increase, and performance continues to be being maintained. Sniffy gets frustrated, and he learnt to strategy the bar press when frustrated. This took the longest due to the variable ratio, Sniffy was not capable of know when the food would come out, typically it will typically it would not. This made him hold going and testing the bar press.

Therefore, animals in the partial bolstered schedule do take longer to extinguish as a outcome of they learnt to make the strategy response, and even when pissed off. The frustration drove the animal to continue to method and never hand over. The continuous reinforced trial extinguished so fast as a outcome of the animal has never been within the situation of not getting bolstered subsequently not making the strategy response, making the frustration response and due to this fact the behaviour ceases.


Hergenhahn, B.R. & Olson, M.H. (2005). An introduction to theories of learning (7th ed.). New Jersey: Prentice Hall.

Cite this page

Analysis of Sniffy The Virtual Rat Experiment. (29 November 2021). Retrieved from

"Analysis of Sniffy The Virtual Rat Experiment" StudyScroll, 29 November 2021,

StudyScroll. (2021). Analysis of Sniffy The Virtual Rat Experiment [Online]. Available at: [Accessed: 27 September, 2022]

"Analysis of Sniffy The Virtual Rat Experiment" StudyScroll, Nov 29, 2021. Accessed Sep 27, 2022.

"Analysis of Sniffy The Virtual Rat Experiment" StudyScroll, Nov 29, 2021.

"Analysis of Sniffy The Virtual Rat Experiment" StudyScroll, 29-Nov-2021. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 27-Sep-2022]

StudyScroll. (2021). Analysis of Sniffy The Virtual Rat Experiment. [Online]. Available at: [Accessed: 27-Sep-2022]

Don't use plagiarized sources. Get your custom essay..

get custom paper

We use cookies to personalyze your web-site experience. By continuing we’ll assume you board with our cookie policy.