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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Invited Tutorial #93
CE Offered: BACB
SQAB Tutorial: Present and Future of Do-It-Yourself Instrumentation for Operant Research
Saturday, May 25, 2024
12:00 PM–12:50 PM
Convention Center, 300 Level, Ballroom A
Area: SCI; Domain: Basic Research
BACB CE Offered. CE Instructor: Rogelio Escobar, Ph.D.
Chair: Kennon Andy Lattal (West Virginia University)
Presenting Authors: : ROGELIO ESCOBAR (National Autonomous University of Mexico)

The availability of inexpensive do-it-yourself electronics and 3D printing has been the catalyst for the maker movement, often defined as the involvement of individuals in the construction of objects, tools, and electronic devices that include a variety of sensors and actuators. This tutorial will describe how, for over a decade, my research group has focused on using and teaching how to use these new technologies to build inexpensive equipment to record and control behavior in operant research. One of our first objectives was to construct an operant conditioning chamber for rats that could be controlled with an inexpensive but reliable interface capable of recording responses with high accuracy under different schedules of reinforcement. Over the years, we have improved the designs and created new devices to include fixed and retractable levers, nose-poke sensors, food and water dispensers, as well as light and tone generators. Adhering to an open-source policy, we have made our designs, files, and programs freely available to those interested in building custom-made operant chambers. The possibility of building custom equipment could inspire researchers to ask questions involving complex settings and eliminate the restrictions frequently stimulated by available commercial equipment.

Instruction Level: Basic
Target Audience:

The tutorial is intended for graduate students and new researchers.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1) list the components that are used in a fully automatic operant-conditioning chamber; (2) explain the rationale of replacing the components with do-it-yourself electronic components and 3D printing; (3) explain how to utilize the diagrams, instructions, and programs to build custom-made equipment for operant research.
ROGELIO ESCOBAR (National Autonomous University of Mexico)
I earned a degree in Psychology in 2001 and a doctoral degree in behavior analysis in 2007 at the National Autonomous University of Mexico. I was a postdoctoral fellow at West Virginia University from 2008 to 2010. I am a Professor in the School of Psychology at the National Autonomous University of México (UNAM), where I have been teaching graduate and undergraduate courses since 2010. I served as the Editor of the Mexican Journal of Behavior Analysis and have served in the editorial boards of the Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior and Perspectives on Behavior Science. Additionally, I have acted as an ad hoc reviewer for multiple behavior analysis and psychology journals. I have an interest in applying new technologies, such as DIY electronics and 3D printing, to develop custom-made operant-conditioning chambers. My research topics include response variability, conditioned reinforcement, and response recurrence. I have also dedicated my efforts to exploring and documenting the history of precision instruments in experimental psychology and have been the curator for early XX-century precision instruments that are part of the collection at the School of Psychology at UNAM. In 2012, I received the SABA International Development Grant for a project aimed at teaching how to use new technologies to construct inexpensive equipment for operant research and classroom demonstrations. In 2014, I coedited a Special Issue of the Mexican Journal of Behavior Analysis on Behavior Analysis and Technology. I served as chair of the Cognitive and Behavioral Sciences department from 2019 to 2023 and recently achieved recognition as National Researcher Level 2 by the Mexican Council of Humanities, Science, and Technology.
Keyword(s): 3D printing, electronics, instrumentation, technology



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