Operant chambers

Operant boxes reinforce certain behaviors by pairing them with an outcome. For example, a chamber may reinforce nose-poking in mice by delivering sucrose solution each time they poke. More complicated operant paradigms can test reward learning and finer features of motivation, such as increased reinforcement of food-directed behavior. 

Operant chambers from other suppliers can cost thousands of dollars per chamber, not including the cost of the corresponding software packages. This cost may prevent researchers from performing important behavioral experiments and makes high-throughput experiments (involving dozens or even hundreds of chambers) financially impractical. For teaching and research settings, we offer to construct operant boxes according to your specifications, including a plastic or metal box and arduino-based input-output circuits. Chambers can be equipped with photo interrupter sensors (ports serving as nose pokes) or a drinking well, levers, food trays / monitored feeding stations (see e.g. Nguyen et al. 2016), transponder readers, light, touch screens etc. Interesting operant box designs such as "ROBucket" are available as open source and can be fully automated (see e.g Rivalan et al. 2017).

 

Attention: We do not supply chambers using electric stimuli. Other sensors and insulated chambers upon request.

Selected reading on Operant chambers & Equipment

  • Devarakonda, K., K. P. Nguyen, and A. V. Kravitz. 2016. ROBucket: A low cost operant chamber based on the Arduino microcontroller. Behavior Research Methods 48:503-509.
  • Nguyen, K. P., T. J. O’Neal, O. A. Bolonduro, E. White, and A. V. Kravitz. 2016. Feeding Experimentation Device (FED): A flexible open-source device for measuring feeding behavior. Journal of Neuroscience Methods 267:108-114.
  • Rivalan, M., H. Munawar, A. Fuchs, and Y. Winter. 2017. An Automated, Experimenter-Free Method for the Standardised, Operant Cognitive Testing of Rats. PLoS ONE 12:e0169476.