Behavioral Neuroscience Laboratory
Students learn the principles of operant learning in the Psychology Department’s state-of-the-art Behavioral Neuroscience Laboratory. The laboratory currently occupies six rooms of the UTPA Biology Annex in which a colony of Sprague-Dawley rats is housed and Med-Associates Inc. instrumentation is controlled by computer and programs enabling every schedule of reinforcement including the very useful progressive-ratio variations.
Six operant conditioning chambers are available to students as they are expected to learn and demonstrate their ability to implement any of the operant methodologies with resulting cumulative records of behavior. All chambers are enclosed in sound attenuated cubicles and two are electrified grid floor enabled with supporting shock/scrambling modules. One chamber is fully equipped for bar-press activated drug self-administration. Four modular living cages with attached running wheels have guillotine doors controlling access to activity, controls for wheel drag, and automated measurement systems. We hope to add one or more operant chambers equipped with intra-cranial self-stimulation (ICSS) instrumentation and we have plans to supply an available surgical suite in the building with a motorized stereotaxic instrument and a complete small mammal surgical supply inventory.