Hamsters and a fixed ratio schedule of reinforcement

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Sivley, Debra K.
Issue Date
Thesis (M.A.)
Department of Educational Psychology
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This study was an attempt to train, stabilize, and observe the effects of a fixed ratio schedule of reinforcement on the golden hamster, an animal infrequently used in operant research. A review of the literature indicated typical fixed ratio twenty responding in animals commonly used in the operant laboratory, as well as no history of hamster research using fixed ratio scheduling. Apparently the present study is "pioneer research" in this area. The performance of six male Golden Hamsters on fixed ratio schedules of reinforcement was analyzed in terms of post-reinforcement pause duration, running rate, and visual inspection of cumulative records. The hamsters responded more slowly than typical laboratory animals on fixed ratio twenty schedules. Results were discussed in relation to equipment failure, possible temporal factors, activity level, and genetic factors.