Shaping the lever press response

This clip shows a rat being trained to press a lever for food reinforcement. The shaping process involves "reinforcement of successive approximations of the desired response." Following initial exposure to the box, the rat is given pellets of food for approaching the lever, then sniffing the lever, touching the lever, and finally pressing the lever. (A green circle indicates food presentation.) Although the rat's behaviors remain variable throughout the process, the delivery of reinforcement following specific behaviors increases the future likelihood of those, and similar, behaviors. This allows the "trainer" to select behaviors for reinforcement that are more and more similar to the final response of pressing the lever. Thus, the rat's behavior is shaped by the continually changing requirements for reward. (2:00)

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