Steven’s ABA Journey

The Progress of Working with Diva

Results and Discussion April 29, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — sperk7zf @ 1:18 am

Results

After completing the initial phase A of our experiment and beginning phase B, we noticed that the rats continued to perform the trick of jumping through the hoop after denying food, which we believed to be an interesting phenomenon to investigate further. With the advice from our professor, we decided to slightly change the experiment from our original idea. Therefore, we changed the procedure to include recording the jumps the rats performed without food reinforcement after denying food three consecutive times. Therefore, we do not have an average from the first phase A of the number of jumps performed without reinforcement because this was a phenomenon observed while in the process of experimentation. Rat 1, Diva, averaged 44.6 jumps with food reinforcement during phase B, while Rat 2, Beyonce averaged 57 jumps. In phase B, the average number of jumps without food reinforcement after food denial for Diva and Beyonce were 16.2 and 12 jumps, respectively. In the final phase A, Diva averaged 56 jumps with reinforcement and 3.2 without reinforcement, while Beyonce averaged 57.2 jumps with reinforcement and 3.8 without reinforcement. The results show that the rats continued to perform the conditioned behavior without reinforcement more when they were being water deprived in Phase B.

The amounts of water consumed daily changed during each phase of the experiment. During the initial phase A of the experiment, Diva drank 24 ml of water on average, while Beyonce drank 33 ml of water on average. During phase B, which was the phase where the rats were water deprived for an hour prior to the experiment, Diva and Beyonce drank more water daily at 35 and 43 ml, respectively. The final phase A averages demonstrated mixed results, with Diva drinking less water on average than phase B, at 28 ml, and Beyonce drinking more water daily than phase B, at 44 ml. Diva’s water averages throughout the ABA design really show a U-shaped curve. In the two A-phases when no water deprivation was occurring, Diva drank about 10mL less water on average than she did in Phase B where she was deprived of water for 1-hour

Discussion

We discovered an intriguing phenomenon throughout the process of this experiment. Both of our rats would perform the trick, and then they would get to a point where they would deny taking the food from our hand. However, after they denied the food, they would continue performing the conditioned behavior of the trick. We thought this was interesting because they were no longer receiving reinforcement for their performance and it is intriguing as to why they would continue to perform the task when they were no longer accepting the food as reinforcement. We believe that they might be doing this because we gave them water breaks during trick training earlier in the semester; therefore, we hypothesize they might be continuing to perform for us to earn a water break. Another hypothesis for this phenomenon is that the “click” sound was enough of a reinforcement for the rats because we clicked at the same time as we presented a piece of food. When the rat rejected the food and continued to perform the trick, we still used the click as reinforcement for doing the task.

Our hypothesis is supported by our results. We hypothesized that the rats would perform more jumps and that their trial session would last longer during the two A phases because the rats were not deprived of water, would be less thirsty, and able to work longer. The average amount of jumps for each phase demonstrates this because each rat showed that they jumped through the hoop more times during the A phases. Therefore, when the rats were deprived of water, the reinforcing value of the food became less important faster than when they were not deprived.

A limitation to our experiment was that we did not observe the rats’ intriguing behavior until the original first two days of Phase B. After we had already completed running trials and collecting data from the first Phase A, we noticed that the rats continued to jump through the hoop after the food lost its’ reinforcing value in Phase B to a surprising extent. Due to time constraints we could not restart from Phase A to record how many more jumps the rats did, so we only restarted Phase B. Therefore, in the data analysis we can only compare Phase B and the second Phase A in regards to the rats’ continuing to perform the conditioned behavior after denying the food as reinforcement. This aspect is the most intriguing to us, so it would have been beneficial to have recorded data on it in the first Phase A. Another limitation was that our ability to generalize becomes a factor because we only ran the experiment with two participants and in a laboratory setting. A third limitation is that there were various environmental factors that could have affected our data collection due to the limited space in the laboratory and the presence of other experimenters adding extra noise and distraction. We were rarely alone in the laboratory and sometimes other experimenters were using their clickers at the same time as us and their talking and moving around the room could have affected the rats’ behavior.

More research should be done on why the rats continue to perform the conditioned behavior when the reinforcement has lost its valuable effect. This is the most intriguing aspect of our experiment and has truly proven to be a surprising and puzzling occurrence. More research in the area of water deprivation should be done because we have shown that such a slight change can have an influential result. We took the water away from the rats 1 hour prior to the session in Phase B. More experimentation could be done with taking the water away 2 or 3 hours before the trials are run. Lastly, more experimentation with the difficulty and set-up of the conditioned trick behavior could be done. Perhaps a more difficult or layered trick than jumping through a hoop could be conditioned.

Advertisements
 

Final Methods April 19, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — sperk7zf @ 11:07 pm

Methods

Experimental Problem

During clicker training, Melanie and I would both give our rats a water break in the middle of our trial session. The rats would drink without stopping for approximately 3 or 4 minutes during each of these breaks. This behavior suggested altering their available water to test if their thirst affected the performance of a conditioned behavior. We speculate that humans can live longer without food than without consuming water. If a human is lost in the desert, they are not going to eat anything because it would increase their thirst even more and speed up their demise. When a human is extremely thirsty, items that are typically reinforcing to them lose their value. Melanie and I decided to ask if rats are even just slightly water deprived, do food pellets lose their reinforcing value in conditioning a behavior to increase in frequency. The interesting element to us is if even a small change to their water availability affects the reinforcing value of the food pellets.

Participants

Two female Sprague-Dawley laboratory rats, approximately 3 months old, served as subjects. Rat 1, Diva, weighed approximately 235g and Rat 2, Beyonce, weighed approximately 225g. The rats were deprived of water for 1 hour before the start running trials in one phase of our experiment during a 5-day period. The rats were given approximately 6g of food during each training session and an additional 8g of food was left overnight, meaning approximately 14g of food was consumed in each 24-hour period. The rats were given 300mL of water to drink overnight.

Design

We are conducting an ABA experimental design. Our independent variable was the amount of water we provide to the rats. Our dependent variables were the amount of time it took for the food pellets to lose their reinforcing value and the number of consecutive performance behaviors that occurred due to the changes in the reinforcement properties of the food. We chose one trick to condition the rat to do and spent the first 3 days conditioning the trick behavior. We chose jumping through a hoop as the behavior. In the first Phase A, the rats had access to their water up until the start of running trials. In Phase B, the water bottle was taken away 1-hour prior to running trials. In the latter phase A, access to the water was reintroduced to the rats up until the start of running trials.

Materials

We used small food pellets averaging .15g to reinforce the rat’s behaviors. The rats were fed 14g per day according to the aforementioned schedule in the Participant section. For training the trick, we used a small hoop hung in the center of the tank by ribbon. A 43.5 x 32.5 x 31.7 cm Plexiglas tank was used to observe the trials. The rats were trained in separate tanks. We also used an animal clicker for the rat to associate the “click” sound, the discriminative stimulus, with performing a correct behavioral action. In addition, each rat had a water bottle.

Procedure

First, we established a baseline for how much water each rat consumed in a twenty-four hour period. We measured how much water was put into their water bottle and then how much was left exactly twenty-four hours later. We repeated this procedure for five days. We took the average of how much water each rat consumed each night to see the average amount of water they drink in a twenty-four hour period. We recorded the rats’ weight and their water consumption on a daily basis throughout our experiment. Next, we conditioned both rats to perform the trick. We always used approximately 50 food pellets that were 6g total during each session. We spent 3 days conditioning this behavior until we considered it at an appropriate level of mastery. We then began the first Phase A of our ABA design. In this 5-day phase, the rats had access to their water up until we began the trial session. We reinforced each jump through the hoop with a “click” and a food pellet fed by hand. We continued this until the rats denied the food three times. We then recorded how many times the rats continued to jump through the hoop without accepting the food reinforcement. We always recorded the number of trials with reinforcement, the number of trials without reinforcement, and the duration of each. After that 5-day period, we ran Phase B for 5 days. In this phase, the rats were denied access to their water 1-hour prior to the trial session. We repeated the same procedure as in Phase A. We concluded with running the second Phase A of our design. Here, we reintroduced the access to water for the rats up until the start of the trial session. We recorded the same data as with the prior two phases: how many jumps occurred with acceptance of the food reinforcement, how many trials occurred with the denial of the food reinforcement, and the duration of each component.

Hypothesis
We hypothesize that the rats will perform more of the conditioned behavior when they are not being deprived of water 1-hour before experimentation and that the number of behaviors performed after the change to denial of the food as reinforcement will be less as well.

References

Sutphin, G., Byrne, T., & Poling, A. (1998). Response acquisition with delayed reinforcement: a comparison of two-lever procedures. Journal of Experimental Analysis Behaviors, 69 (1), 17-28.

Vidal, J. (2009). Taste-aversion conditioning, but not immunosuppression conditioning, occurs under partial water deprivation. Journal of General Psychology, 136(1), 71-89.

 

Diva’s Trick Improvement and Food Denial

Filed under: Uncategorized — sperk7zf @ 10:35 pm

Here is a video illustrating Diva’s improvement with her performance task and also her denial of food in the water deprivation Phase B. In the second clip, she comes to my hand, but then denies the food, and the clip does not capture what happens next, but Diva continues to jump through the hoop without accepting the reinforcement. The “click” sound still occurs with every jump, so perhaps that is what continues to reinforce her behavior.

 

Last Phase of ABA Experiment

Filed under: Uncategorized — sperk7zf @ 9:24 pm

First of all, Melanie and I spent this week editing our Methods Section to include our switch to an ABA design experiment. In addition, we completed the final phase of our ABA design, the A’ Phase. In this phase, we reintroduced the access to the water for the rats in the hour before running trials. We hypothesized that we would again see them perform more trials before the food lost its reinforcing value. We did see this take place. The other factor in our experiment has become whether the rats keep performing the behavior of jumping through the hoop without accepting the reinforcement of the food. This behavior occurred a lot less than during the water-deprivation Phase B of our experiment. Here are our final 5-days of data for our experiment.
Rat 1 (Diva) –>

Saturday 4/11

—– 64 jumps before she denied food 3x in a 29-minute time period

—– 3 more jumps in a 3-minute time period

—– Drank 30 mL of water in a 24-hour time period

Monday 4/13

—– 53 jumps before she denied food 3x in a 23-minute time period

—– 0 more jumps

—– Drank 25mL of water in a 24-hour time period

Tuesday 4/14

—– 60 jumps before she denied food 3x in a 30-minute time period

—– 1 more jump in a 1-minute time period

—– Drank 25mL in a 24-hour time period

Wednesday 4/15

—– 68 jumps before she denied food 3x in a 28-minute time period

—– 5 more jumps in a 1-minute time period

—– Drank 30mL of water in a 24-hour time period

Thursday 4/16

—– 58 jumps before she denied food 3x in a 29-minute time period

—– 2 more jumps in a 1-minute time period

—– Drank 30mL of water in a 24-hour time period

———————————————————————————————————–

Rat 2 (Beyonce) –>

Saturday 4/11

—– 58 jumps before she denied food 3x in a 26-minute time period

—– 12 more jumps in a 5-minute time period

—– Drank 30mL of water in a 24-hour time period

Monday 4/13

—– 54 jumps before she denied food 3x in a 24-minute time period

—– 0 more jumps

—– Drank 50mL of water in a 24-hour time period

Tuesday 4/14

—– 67 jumps before she denied food 3x in a 37-minute time period

—– 0 more jumps

—– Drank 30mL of water in a 24-hour time period

Wednesday 4/15

—– 56 jumps before she denied food 3x in a 25-minute time period

—– 3 more jumps in a 1-minute time period

—– Drank 60mL of water in a 24-hour time period

Thursday 4/16

—– 58 jumps before she denied food 3x in a 32-minute time period

—– 0 more jumps

—– Drank 40mL of water in a 24-hour time period

 

Phase B: Water Deprivation April 12, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — sperk7zf @ 9:41 pm

We ran Phase B of our experiment this past week from 4/6-4/10. We made some slight alterations to how we observed the rats behavior after our class discussion. After running the first 2 days of this phase, we noticed that the rats stopped accepting the food pellets after performing the task, but continued to perform the task with no reinforcement. This became a very interesting factor in our experiment that we did not anticipate. Due to this new knowledge, we started the 5 days of Phase B over again on Monday 4/6. We took the water bottle away one hour prior to experimentation. We reinforced each jump through the hoop with a food pellet and a “click.” We continued to provide this reinforcement until the rats denied the food 3 times. This showed us that the food was no longer reinforcing their trick behavior, yet they kept performing the trick and stopped coming to our hand. We counted how many more jumps the rats performed after the food lost its’ reinforcing value. This has become a very intriguing factor because we thought the lack of reinforcement would extinguish the behavior. We successfully completed 5 days of Phase B and have stopped taking the water away one-hour before.

Rat 1 (Diva) –>

Monday 4/6

—– 37 jumps before she denied food 3x in a 16-minute time period

—– 30 more jumps before she denied food 3x in a 10-minute time period

—– Drank 40mL in a 24-hour time period

Tuesday 4/7

—– 40 jumps before she denied food 3x in a 19-minute time period

—– 13 more jumps in a 5-minute time period

—– Drank 40mL in a 24-hour time period

Wednesday 4/8

—– 44 jumps before she denied food 3x in a 20-minute time period

—– 15 more jumps in a 8-minute time period

—– Drank 30mL in a 24-hour time period

Thursday 4/9

—– 47 jumps before she denied food 3x in a 21-minute time period

—– 11 more jumps in a 6-minute time period

—– Drank 30mL in a 24-hour time period

Friday 4/10

—– 55 jumps before she denied food 3x in a 23-minute time period

—– 12 more jumps in an 8-minute time period

—– Drank 35mL in a 24-hour time period

————————————————————————————————————–

Rat 2 (Beyonce) –>

Monday 4/6

—– 56 jumps before she denied food 3x in a 22-minute time period

—– 35 more jumps in a 10-minute time period

—– Drank 40mL in a 24-hour time period

Tuesday 4/7

—– 70 jumps before she denied food 3x in a 19-minute time period

—– 3 more jumps in a 3-minute period

—– Drank 45mL in a 24-hour time period

Wednesday 4/8

—– 55 jumps before she denied food 3x in a 24-minute time period

—– 8 more jumps in a 5-minute time period

—– Drank 40mL in a 24-hour time period

Thursday 4/9

—– 56jumps before she denied food 3x in a 30-minute time period

—– 3 more jumps in a 3-minute time period

—– Drank 30 mL in a 24-hour time period

Friday 4/10

—– 48 jumps before she denied food 3x in a 27-minute time period

—– 11 more jumps in a 3-minute time period

—– Drankl 60mL in a 24-hour time period

 

Diva- Rat 1- Results as of 4/3/09 April 5, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — sperk7zf @ 1:25 pm

diva-results-4-31

Displayed above are the current results we have obtained in our experimentation so far. We are half way through Phase B of our ABA design. As you can see, the rats were consistently doing trials on the average of 30 minutes before the food lost its’ reinforcing value in Phase A. The rats had water available to them up until the impact of running trials and the food still began to lose its’ reinforcing nature after around 30 minutes, typically nearing 6g of food consumption. In Phase B, the rats are running trials for about 15-20 minutes so far. This graph only depicts the first two of five days for this phase, but you can already see a pattern beginning. We remove the water bottle from the rats’ access exactly one hour before we begin running trials in Phase B. After three more days of running Phase B, we will beging Phase A-prime by reintroducing access to the water. At that point we will be able to provide a full graph of our results.

 

Hypothesized ABA Experiment Results

Filed under: Uncategorized — sperk7zf @ 1:22 pm

diva-hypothesis