Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


50th Annual Convention; Philadelphia, PA; 2024

Event Details

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Symposium #69
One Stop Lab Shop: Institutional Labs on a Budget
Saturday, May 25, 2024
12:00 PM–12:50 PM
Convention Center, 100 Level, 102 AB
Area: AAB/TBA; Domain: Theory
Chair: Shannon Ormandy (The Chicago School)

Experimental analysis of behavior paved the way for concept formation and behavioral theory that comprise the foundation of applied work. However, there has been ongoing concern about the growing divide between basic and applied branches of our field (Marr, 2017; Rider, 1991). As the divide between many facets of applied and experimental work continues to grow, basic laboratories are becoming harder to find and fund, forcing the development of clever and adaptive solutions. Specifically, the price of operant chambers is between $2,000 and $5,000 which limits opportunities for institutions to foster student engagement in work that is the basis of our field (Devarakonda et al., 2016). Despite minimal funding, educators can create and expand their research opportunities using the methods presented in this symposium. This presentation will focus on: (1) the benefits of creating a lab in an applied program and how to do so with limited to no funding; (2) the use of open-source coding to develop data collection systems; and (3) the use of a low cost 3D printed operant chamber that can be used to promote Generative Learning, in the game of “Rasketball”. This *One Stop Lab Shop* will demonstrate how to advance your student’s learning, how your educational experience can be enhanced through lab work, and how to reduce costs in existing labs.

Instruction Level: Basic
Keyword(s): animal behavior, data collection, lab, teaching

Ratsketball: Using Low-Cost 3D-Printed Operant Chambers to Probe for Generative Learning

ERYKAH SPRIGGS (Georgia Southern University), Andrew Bulla (Georgia Southern University - Armstrong ), Michaeil Woodcock (Georgia Southern University)

The cost of operant chambers used to teach students basic concept and principles of behavior analysis and learning has increased across time, adding a barrier for instructors who wish to incorporate animal models within their laboratory courses, instead using virtual and analog models. Recent researchers have begun to investigate the use of 3D-printed operant chambers in laboratory classes as a low-cost alternative to traditional operant chambers. The current paper extends the literature on low-cost alternatives and provides an overview of the methodology to create and use 3D-printed operant chambers designed to function as basketball courts. In addition to specific instructions to assemble these boxes, we present a rationale as to how instructors can use these chambers in assignments designed to teach concepts and principles of operant conditioning, while establishing novel topographies of behavior not commonly seen in rats (i.e., placing basketball in hoop). We present sample data from the course assignment to highlight the utility of these chambers. It is our hope that researchers and instructors can use these methods to replicate this novel extension of traditional operant conditioning procedures to behaviors not commonly established in operant conditioning laboratories.

From Roach Royalty to Butterfly Ballet: Tales of an Invertebrate Lab
MEGAN K VALESEY (Board Certified Behavior Analysis), Shannon Ormandy (The Chicago School), Rocco G Catrone (The Chicago School)
Abstract: The current landscape of behavior analysis is shifting as applied practitioners, in coordination with the communities they support, are seeking ways to increase compassionate care and assent-based procedures within their clinical programing (Morris et al. 2021). Opportunities to apply compassionate practices are difficult to socially contrive for both human and non-human learners. The Respondent and Operant Animal Research (ROAR) lab is an invertebrate research lab operating within the Behavior Analysis program at The Chicago School’s Chicago Campus. The ROAR lab uses compassionate care practices in every aspect, including learner handling, student involvement, and environmental enrichment. In a brief period, and with exceedingly little budgetary support, researchers within the ROAR lab have gone from lab setup to integrating the lab work into master's level courses and theses. Student participation in the lab provides an opportunity to include conversations that are often missing from basic research including assent-based and compassionate practices for both invertebrate animals and the students. Please join our presentation about the value of invertebrate lab research, lessons learned while working with invertebrates, and establishing lab work as course assignments that build strong foundational skills for master’s level students.

Coding in Behavior Analysis? An Introduction to Arduino Software and the Developmentof Cost-Effective Measurement Systems for Operant Chambers

DANIEL SCHMIDT (The Chicago School ), Rocco G Catrone (The Chicago School)

B.F. Skinner (1956) documented the importance of utilizing available resources during his time at Harvard, especially the opportunity to collaborate with other science departments to develop operant chambers and devices to discover basic principles of behavior. At a graduate school in Chicago, whose primary focus is on educating students across various psychological disciplines, the Respondent and Operant Animal Research (ROAR) lab was not as equipped with engineers to support in building operant chambers and data collection devices. However, with the power of the internet along with software and open-source coding that allows us to access the creativity of millions, the ROAR lab has developed sensors to measure responding of Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches (i.e., an invertebrate species) at an inexpensive and accessible cost to the lab with the use of Arduino boards and associated sensors. As a result, the growth of automated ways of observing, recording, and data collecting can occur with limited precursor skills related to technology for building out stimulus context and measurement systems within operant chambers.




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