Operant conditioning

Tools for

Operant conditioning

Operant conditioning is a learning test used in animal studies to either reinforce or diminish (extinct) certain behaviors. For example, you can teach a mouse to press a lever to receive a food reward, or a fish to stay away from a certain area to avoid a negative stimulus such as a shock or bright light.

Tools for Operant conditioning

Automate operant conditioning tasks

The whole process of an operant conditioning experiment can easily be automated with EthoVision XT. In the video tracking software, you can set-up a program so that EthoVision XT detects certain behaviors of your animal, and in turn sends out a signal to turn certain stimuli on or off. For example: the animal enters a specific area in its cage, this is detected by EthoVision XT, in turn sending out a signal to the pellet dispenser, so that the animal receives its award. 

brown mouse on a rope

Customer quote

"Ethovision XT has saved us a lot of time analysing behavioural data - allowing us to do more, faster."

Dr. A. Brigham|Rentokil Initial, United Kingdom


brown mouse lab phenotyper

Operant conditioning in the home cage

In most cases, animals are transported from their home cage to a testing area. Handling of the animal and the novel environment both cause stress, which can influence your test results. Therefore, testing in the home cage has become increasingly popular.

PhenoTyper is extremely suitable to carry out operant conditioning tasks in the home cage. It can be adapted to fit many different experimental setups, and as such be fitted with levers, lights, a pellet dispenser, running wheel, speaker for audio signals, and so on. It also benefits from the easy automation of the test with EthoVision XT, as described above.


Operant conditioning and optogenetics

Following the example above, you can give an animal a food reward, but you can also directly stimulate the dopamine receptors in the brain to reward the animal. That is what Dr. Kravitz and Dr. Kreitzer did. Read more about it in this blog post.


Relevant blogs

Understanding behavioral psychology with The Observer XT

Understanding behavioral psychology with The Observer XT

What causes you to procrastinate, eat junk food, or form a habit? Questions like this, about the connection between our minds and our behavior, are studied in behavioral psychology.
Using video tracking to study operant behavior in rodents

Using video tracking to study operant behavior in rodents

What is operant behavior? And how can we use software such as EthoVision XT to increase our understanding in the learning and memory processes involved in these studies?
Guest blog: Having a look at operant behavior

Guest blog: Having a look at operant behavior

Scientists from Idorsia Pharmaceuticals in Switzerland provide an expert view on operant behavior, and how we can improve our understanding of this complex behavior with the help of video tracking.
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