Operant Research Software
for the Psychology Classroom


Commercial operant chambers (eg. Gebrands Co.) are used extensively in teaching upper class courses in Psychology. To computerize this traditional method I developed a hardware system that connects the classroom apparatus to the modern computer. I then created the software necessary to control the chamber and present the student with the course's laboratory objectives. These computer software programs were written specifically for the Psychology Classroom.


Psychology 514 – Conditioning and Learning

Psy514 is a 4 credit Advanced Laboratory Course at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee. It is a lecture and laboratory course that studies the principles of conditioning and learning. Dr. John C. Moore currently teaches Psy 514 at UWM.

My software presents two Experiments. The first Experiment allows the student to explore the effects of various classical schedules on Rat behavior including Shaping, Fixed and Variable Ratios, Fixed and Variable Intervals and Extinction. The second Experiment adds the presentation of multiple different schedules to study the effects of their interaction on Rat behavior. The classroom data is collected and saved in a computer file for later student analysis.




Psychology 325 – Research Methods in Psychology

Psy325 is a 4 credit Foundations Course at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee. It is a lecture and laboratory course that studies the Design and Execution of Psychological Research including the Collection, Analysis, and Reporting of Data.

The software programs were originally written by Dr. Alan Baron and myself using DOS Quick Basic. They were developed to run on modern (Intel386) DOS based computers. We used the same connection system I developed for the Conditioning and Learning classroom chambers to connect the Research Methods ones.


Dr. Alan Baron and I created the software to control the chamber, present an assortment of schedules and record the responses. Dr. Baron used these programs in his classroom for many years. The software has been modified many times. Because they were written in BASIC many people contributed to their evolution. New features were added by Dr. Baron’s subsequent students. The laboratory programs became a collective work of art, although the code now looks a lot like spagehtti.



Daniel Shurilla
Electronic Research Technician
Email: dannys@shurilla.com

Alan Baron, Ph.D.
Professor Emeritus
Department of Psychology
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Email: ab@uwm.edu

John C. Moore, Ph.D.
Professor of Psychology
Department of Psychology
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Email: jcm@uwm.edu