Animal Learning Videos


These video files are intended to illustrate some traditional and contemporary laboratory preparations and animal behaviors that have been employed in animal learning and cognition research. The behaviors are meant to represent what I believe are typical behaviors seen using the techniques described. They are not meant to be used as empirical evidence in support of scientific theories. In all cases, the observed behaviors represent those of the individual subject portrayed in the video. It is common for behaviors shown by an individual subject and across different subjects of the same species or strain to vary dramatically. In many cases, minor variations in procedures and environments can produce behavior changes that are not yet fully understood.

Following a traditional organization, I have categorized the videos as "Nonassociative," "Pavlovian," or "Instrumental." It should be noted however, that the lines among these categories are frequently fuzzy, and an argument could be made that, under some circumstances, such distinctions may be inappropriate. Behaviors are often the result of multiple underlying mechanisms, and under some circumstances the traditional Pavlovian and instrumental processes may share the same underlying mechanism.

Unless I have otherwise granted permission, the files are intended for nonprofit educational use only. I am indebted to Ohio Wesleyan University students Meredith Magnuson and Liz Steinbacher for their video production and editing assistance. These videos require installation of a recent version of either or media players.

I hope that you find these videos useful. Comments about the videos and suggestions for additional videos are welcome and should be sent to Higher quality versions of the videos (and therefore much larger file sizes) are available from me as shareware on CD.

Thank you for your interest -- Dale Swartzentruber, Ohio Wesleyan University


Habituation of a startle response
Spontaneous recovery


Autoshaping a pigeon's keypeck CR
Long box autoshaping
Autoshaping with grain vs. water USs
Headjerking and rearing CRs by a rat to auditory and visual CSs
Conditioned suppression of a rat's lever pressing


Shaping the lever press response
Omission procedure with autoshaping