Publication Date


Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

James Craig, Leroy Metze, David Shiek

Degree Program

Department of Psychology

Degree Type

Master of Arts


Research has shown that under certain conditions an organism will prefer to work for a reward rather than freeload for the identical reward. Length of barpress training, type of reinforcer, and strain of rat have all been shown to affect work behavior. Six Wistar and six Max Hooded rats were assigned to one of three treatment conditions. They earned either a water or a sucrose reinforcer for 5, 7, or 10 days. The rats were given two days of barpress shaping. Following barpress shaping, they completed 5, 7, or 10 days of barpress training. Training was followed by three days of choice testing in which the rat could continue to earn liquid reinforcer or receive it without work. Differences between the findings of the current study and previous studies were suggested as being due to different training procedures, different utilizations of the reinforcer sucrose, and preferences different strains may have for different reinforcers. There was a significant difference in the amounts of reinforcer consumed. Twice as much sucrose was consumed under all treatment conditions. Suggestions for further investigation included: a comparison of massed and distributed barpress training, exploration of the relationship between strain of rat and type of reinforcer employed, and a comparison of different presentations of sucrose.


Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences

Included in

Psychology Commons