Operant Conditioning

Behavioral neuroscience frequently employs rodent models to determine the effects of particular manipulations on behavior and cognition. Operant conditioning is about how our responses are conditioned by reinforcers or punishers as part of an intent to define the way humans can automatically learn through personal experience. A way to model that in research is the use of the operant conditioning boxes, originally named Skinner box as reference to B.F. Skinner who is regarded as the father of the classical operant conditioning approach.

The operant conditioning boxes are commonly used in laboratory animals (such as rats, mice or even pigeons and non-human primates) for modelling a wide variety of cognitive functions (learning, working memory, attention, motivation, decision-making, risk-taking, impulsivity, compulsivity, distractions control etc.) that have a significant relevance in experiments carried out on animal models of Alzheimer’s, Schizophrenia, anxiety, depression, addiction and gambling. They have become a standard for a variety of research disciplines including behavioral pharmacology, experimental psychology and cognitive neuroscience.

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