Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


36th Annual Convention; San Antonio, TX; 2010

Event Details

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Symposium #464
Advances in Computer Technology to Conduct Laboratory Experiments
Monday, May 31, 2010
3:30 PM–4:50 PM
Lone Star Ballroom Salon C (Grand Hyatt)
Area: EAB/TBA; Domain: Experimental Analysis
Chair: Michael Perone (West Virginia University)
Discussant: Dean C. Williams (University of Kansas)
Abstract: The purpose of this symposium is to review recent developments in computer hardware and software to support the experimental analysis of behavior. The speakers will discuss (a) the pros and cons of using a general-purpose programming language, Visual Basic, instead of a specialized language, MED-PC, to control operant conditioning apparatus; (b) a specific application of Visual Basic in an undergraduate laboratory that uses rats to demonstrate behavior principles; and (c) the development and evaluation of a touch-screen system for research with pigeons, as an alternative to the standard pecking-key system.
Real-Time Experimental Control via Visual Basic: Is It a Viable Alternative to MED-PC?
MICHAEL PERONE (West Virginia University)
Abstract: Visual Basic is a structured, general-purpose programming language. Visual Basic programs are fast and versatile, even when written in Visual Basic Express, a cost-free version of the language. My laboratory group relies on a library of functions and procedures to facilitate efficient development of programs to control laboratory apparatuses such as rat and pigeon chambers in real time. Of particular interest is how this approach compares to the popular MED-PC programming system. I will review some key features of our Visual Basic system and compare it to the MED-PC system in terms of hardware and software requirements, monetary costs, training and development costs, and flexibility.
A Laboratory Course in Experimental Analysis Supported by Visual Basic
ANNE M. FOREMAN (West Virginia University), Jessica Everly (University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg), Michael Perone (West Virginia University)
Abstract: Undergraduate psychology majors at West Virginia University are required to take a Behavior Principles course in which they spend four hours per week conducting laboratory experiments with rats. We have developed a system of Visual Basic programs to assist the student experimenters as well as their lab instructors. The programs provide for the basic control of a variety of experimental procedures, engage the students in the observation of the animals and the translation of their behavior into quantitative data, display cumulative records in real time, and support the efficient management of the laboratory.
A Touch-Screen Apparatus Using Visual Basic in the Animal Laboratory
ADAM T. BREWER (University of Kansas), Rochelle R. Smits (University of Kansas), Patrick S. Johnson (University of Kansas), Monica T. Francisco (University of Kansas), Jeff S. Stein (University of Kansas), Gregory J. Madden (University of Kansas)
Abstract: Operant researchers have benefited from the application of computer touch-screen technology compared to conventional operant conditioning equipment (Bhatt & Wright, 1992; Blough, 1986; Lynch & Green, 1991; Murray, Gaffan, & Mishkin, 1993; Spetch, Cheng & Mondloch, 1992). Using touch-screens offers several advantages including, flexibility in the choice of stimuli presented, increased precision in detecting response location, and the ability to generate a large amount of visual stimuli (Markham et. el., 1996). We used Visual Basic 6.0 to: (a) program visual stimuli on an ELO 1739L LCD open-frame touch-screen, (b) control Measurement Computing’s PCI-PDISO8 interface card that operated response keys and feeders, and (c) record data. Information will be provided on how our system works and the necessary purchasing costs.



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