Miller's Classes Clark High School
You are now almost three weeks into your rat training.  At this point in the training what is the most difficult and anxiety provoking aspect of the training.  When posting please put your name and period.  Please use psychological terminology and respond to at least one of your peer's posts.  For example:  Response post-James Miller.
sara lacroix p.7
2/16/2010 09:48:43 am

responding to question

The most fustrating aspect of the rat training is that ourrat seems to have spontaneously recovered certain bad habits that I thought that we had gotten rid of. Other than that our rat has proven tobe exceptionally smart, and all we have to worry about is keeping him alive, and maintance work.

Karl P.7
2/16/2010 10:40:05 am

So far the most frustrating part has been getting the box put together right. I'd have to say that the levels weren't done to my satisfaction until last week. One of the major problems that's caused is the rat being trained differently on certain levels, so there's a lot of semi-conditioned behavior that we've got to work on extinguishing.

Other than that, I worry that the rat fails to understand the goals of the various levels, since she seems intent on blindly following the peanut butter.

sara lacroix p.7
2/16/2010 01:41:00 pm

responding to karl

it stinks that the rat is being trained differently at the different levels. i wish you the best of luck on trying to convince the rat to do things properly. extinguishing thebehavior is not going to be easy.

the best of luck

Gabriele P.7
2/16/2010 04:00:59 pm

Response to Question:

There cannot be much to say past what Karl had said. I, however, believe that the box's construction was actually the most entertaining part of the project.

The fact that it was finally completed only a week ago is a reflection of each individual's effort, which would be the focus of my frustrations. Within every group, there are always those people who aren't on the same page, effort-wise, as their groupmates. While some work hard to get the grade they truly deserve, the others are just along for the ride.

Now, I'm not saying that there are lazy people in my group. I am currently under the impression that each one of us in Group 4 is putting a decent amount of effort in (keep in mind that this information might not be as accurate, considering how the communication lines are not as great as I expect them to be). In the same light, I'm not denying the possibility of slackers in my group.

Another difficulty I have would be with, as Karl had already said, the differences in training techniques. There hasn't been much discussion about how to train the rat, so I am under the impression that each period has found their own way. With the possibility of constantly changing reinforcement times (for example: one period might lead Dante with peanut butter, letting her lick the skewer after every level while another period might only reward her after getting to level three) our rat may be confused about what it has to do before getting food, so she ends up relying on being visually presented with the promise of a reward before moving at all. This would prove to be a problem due to the fact that we are unable to lead the rat at all during the official running.

Marisse Ricana P. 6
2/17/2010 12:42:00 pm

Response to question:

What's difficult about the training is that Dante relies far too much on the peanut butter. She's progressing quite nicely, though it'll be a problem if we don't get her to acknowledge that she needs to do a complete run-through without it.

Another element that adds to the anxiety of rat training is seeing another group's progress. When I (or other group members) glance around the room to see another group's rat already do a complete run-through of their box, we can't help but feel the pressure. I admit that this negative reinforcement (escape) reaches us in an unpleasant manner and ends up aggravating us and leads us to releasing pent up frustrations on Dante, thinking those thoughts that just end up making one even angrier.

Response to Sara L.:

I'm sure that you'll be able to see to the extinction of your rat's bad habits. Keep at it and good luck!

Gabby D per. 7
2/18/2010 12:18:41 am

At first it was very frustrating to extinguish bad habits and train the rat to do otherwise. But at this moment, it makes me most anxious to think that the worst thing that could happen is losing our rat since he enjoys escaping from his cage. Having our rat maintain all that he has learned in his memory shouldn't bee too hard, but i hope that his superstitious behavior from the car level doesn't mess us up when the test comes around.

Gabby D per. 7 response to Marisse Ricana
2/18/2010 12:23:31 am

We had a bit of a problem similar to that with our rat on our 4th leven where he pushes a car, what Miller told us to do, and it works with some patience, is try to lead the rat through the maze. Meaning, you dont want to have to give it reinforcement all of the time because then it becomes dependant on it, but if you have the peanut butter on a stick, have it follow that through the maze. Once it finally gets to the end is when you give it the peanut butter, and maybe a little more than you usually would so that it then has something to look forward too when it finally does get to the top of the maze.
*just be careful, and you have to be faster than the rat. when we did this with ours, he stole hhe food a few times :P

Patsy Varpula, Period 7
2/19/2010 01:43:19 pm

Response to the original post.

The most anxiety provoking aspect of this entire project is the fact that the rat can just drop dead at any night, then having to be under the pressure of training a new one. Otherwise, a more realistic problem would be having to stop the rat from sniffing outside of the box, or just stalling entirely on a level. Otherwise, I would think that our group is having no problems, besides slight disagreements in decision making....

Response to Gabby:

Well, if he is getting out of his cage, why not try to clip it shut? A hair clip or something? When we had our bird cage rat cage, we used little hair clips to keep the doors shut.

p.s. Hi Mr. Miller :D

Doris Chan, Period 7
2/20/2010 04:36:32 am

The most frustrating aspect of the project right now is how Sophie, our rat, seems to have spontaneous recovered a few of her bad habits. She was doing extremely well but then after the three day weekend, she gotten slower and exhibited habits we thought we had extinguished a long time ago. I'm worried that when we do the official test run, she would mess up and not complete the run accurately.

Samantha Bodan P.5
2/20/2010 08:06:13 am

Hi this is Sammi. I've been a long time listener, first time blogger.

I would have to say the most frustrating thing of this project so far would be having the struggle of CLEAR communication between all three groups. It seems that between the three class periods each has a different training method, making it harder to get the rat to do what it needs to do.

In Respone to Doris:
I completely agree with her (as I am in her group). When we have full weeks, the rat does every thing prefect with out much struggle, but after long weekend and now having yet another, the rat seems to be laggin. She for some reason chews the crayons and likes to skip a triangle passage set up on the sencond level. But she has come a very long way just in the three weeks. I think by this week she'll have the final down with no problems.

Iris Gonzalez
2/20/2010 01:11:42 pm

Response to question

The most anxiety provoking aspect of our training has been the inconsistency of our rat, Sophie, to complete the trials every time they are run. When the training began, Sophie used to go through the obstacles one by one with no problem. Then, when we put her through to complete the whole box, she would show extinction of one or more obstacles in the first two levels. For example, she would not go through a triangle obstacle in the second level, but she would complete that level and the third level with no difficulty. This led us to use a response chain on every level until she was able to complete the entire box without reinforcement. Then the worst happened and she exhibited spontaneous recovery for chewing on an obstacle in level one. She would go through that first level so fast and chew on the crayons, but when we tried to get her out she would just continue the box as if nothing happened. Overall, my period has had good and bad training days, but hopefully Sophie will be ready to run the maze like a pro.

Response to Gabriele O. (P. 7)

To me, that was one of the most worrisome aspects of the construction of the box. How 12 people where going to decide on the construction of one maze for our rat. But as it turns out, we each contributed as much as we could, and finished the final two levels just in time to train our rat in them. And once again, working with that many people, also led to the various mistakes in communication in our group, to which we experienced so many frustrated moments. Even with this broken line of communication, our group has been able to keep the training methods and techniques on the same level, due to the fact that we were able to meet up in the beginning of the project to discuss what we need to do. Overall our rat has been incredible in not being confused by our 3 groups and in running the trails without reinforcement until the end. Gabe, I wish you the best of luck with Dante and I hope that your groups will be able to get on the same page to finish her training successfully.

2/20/2010 01:31:35 pm

Response to Gabriele

What actions could have been done to avoid the miscommunications that you have all had, not to mention the lossed training time due to your incomplete box? Do you believe that the stubbornness is a result of poor training on your group's behalf or the innate personality of your rat?


Susan E. period 7
2/20/2010 01:49:38 pm

The difficult part with our rat was to make sure she would recover from her traumatic experience. We had to be very patient but we also has to hold her and pet her to teach her we weren't going to harm her-would that be flooding? HMMMM
Besides the fact that she's a bit sick, everything else is good.
she's an amazing rat :)

in response to Karl P.7:

I agree with you that setting up the box and decorating it was hard-
I'm not creative at all DDx

Haydee Rojas
2/20/2010 02:07:51 pm

The most anxiety provoking aspect of the rat training is the inconsistency of the rat it seems though as time progresses she knows that she can succesfully complete the box so she starts getting lazy and in way it is almost like she is trying to condition us to lead her with food so that she can steal it. Now we're going to have to use a different approach to training maybe every 3 times they do it right we reward her its a type of interval ratio conditioning. Hopefully the day of the actual test she does it correctly and stops getting lazy because in a way our rat is unpredictable.

Haydee Rojas
2/20/2010 02:12:43 pm

In response to Doris as I am in your group I think that the rat is trying to condition us now and we need to figure out a way for the rat to stay cinsistent so that the day of the actual run of the rat she does it correctly.

Kyle yoder pd5
2/20/2010 03:41:07 pm

Kyle yoder:
To me the most anxiety causing issue with the rat training is the fact that the rat is definately being trained differently I'm our different periods. I just feel that this project is to made to complicated by having so many different people working with one rat. We left notes and did all the right things to try and make sure that the rat was being trained as close to the same through all the periods. When we talked about classical conditioning you stressed consistency when training. That's very difficult to achieve with so many different people.

Kyle yoder pd 7
2/20/2010 03:46:44 pm

In response to haydee:
I agree with the fact that the rat acting inconsistently is stressful, but in my opinion that comes from the issue of having all these different people involved. Like I feel like the rat wants to feel that consitency it's just difficult when three different groups of 6 or so people are telling it differet things.

Kyle yoder
2/20/2010 03:49:26 pm

Pounder "the fat rat" Yoder-Ballow
"he was a great rat but an even better friend"

austin 'big a' ballow p.5
2/20/2010 03:51:09 pm

I believe the most difficult part of this is that our rat would always like to stop at the end of the first level after and post up there for a second. After a while though he would go straight back to running the maze again.

rip da homie pounder

2/20/2010 03:56:36 pm

The most frustrating part of our rat training had to be building the box. Ours was incomplete for so long that we had to teach our rat several different courses

2/20/2010 03:59:42 pm

and i think that it had to have confused pounder for the first few weeks.

In response to Kyle

I believe that having so many different people train the rat was definitely frustrating. You don't know how exactly the other groups trained or what they did to it, besides what they wrote down. Having so many different groups probably confused the rat too.

Austin ballow
2/20/2010 03:59:55 pm

In response to my dude kyle i agree 100 percent. Its so tough doing this project with other students in other classes. I believe that a group with people you actually know would make the rat go a lot faster.

Katherine Laveway p5
2/21/2010 02:21:55 am

So far the most frustrating aspect of rat training is the fact that Waffles will seek food at certain parts of the maze and will often not budge for a good amount of time. She must have received positive reinforcement at this stage and now pokes her head out each time she gets there.

In response to Kyle: I definitely agree that it's very frustrating to have so many people training the same rat. On one hand, it's great because she is being trained faster, but on the other hand, certain undesirable behaviors may be enforced by certain groups.

Daniel Won Period 5
2/21/2010 02:27:11 am

The anxiety part of our rat training is that in the second level our rat keeps on looking out in a direction that is not headed toward the next level. I'm assuming that the rad had a previous reinforcement there and can not stop looking out for possibly food. It is difficult to train it to stop looking there and to just move on. My possible solution is to do continuous reinforcement for the rat when she does the training correctly without looking at the space/direction she is not supposed to on the second level. Furthermore, to break habits alternate responses is possibly the best solution.

Response to Austin Ballow

Working with people you know and socialize is the best and most efficient. It is just more efficient and everyone is more compatible and comfortable.

Kyle Cartoneros period 6
2/21/2010 02:44:18 am

The most frustrating thing about the training is the fact that there are times when the rat just does the course wrong. After numerous tries to work on pushing down a block, Waffles succeeded. the next try, she couldn't do it. Sometimes it seems as if she is just conditioning us to feed her. In other cases, the rat will do great. The only trouble is the pause in the 2nd level. Also at the end of that level, Waffles will sometimes try to escape maze if she sees food off to the side or if someone is near her reach.

In response to Kyle:
I agree with you that training with a constant method is hard. Notes can only tell so much, but there will still be numerous differences in the training with about 12 people working on the rat. That means there are 12 different training methods that are being done. Each method has their own unique quality that cannot be reproduced.

dennis park p.5
2/21/2010 02:46:35 am

the most difficult part of the training so far is making the rat get comfortable with our maze. The level 5 struggles the rat because our rat got so fat. . . . . . and it has to squeeze through a little hole. . . . we should stop feeding that fat rat -_____________- another problem is that our rat is a female . . its always grooming and stopping on many levels. . . female x_____x

respond to Daniel Won
maybe you should block the part where it looks out for a while so that it stops that habit and reinforce it if it finishes the level without looking out (:

Bobby Ou P.7
2/21/2010 03:16:53 am

Our rat training is going very well but there is a bad problem as the rat can not go up the down maze without it being slanted at first, it might because of fear of heights or that we have just conditioned it to well to be on the slanted angle that whenever we move it just a bit, its mind shifts and thinks it a completly different maze

Respond to Katherine
Well that what happend to our rat where it will look for food cause it was conditioned at a certain point that food or a reward was given, so what our group is doing is pulling the rat out and giving it a time out so it will learn to not look for food at the moment.

2/21/2010 03:54:17 am

Response to Dennis and the Class

How does everyone feel about dennis's comment about his female rat? Is Dennis right or is Dennis way off track.


Emily Per.7
2/21/2010 04:18:04 am

The hardest part of the rat project was when the first rat (Baby, MooMoo, Carl,or Remmy) died. She was a little smartie and blew past all the levels with mostly ease.

Rat shopping is a toughie too. The next rat was cute but dumb. Then came along Lucifer, the albino rat. She is smart-ish :]

Response to Miller:
Dennis is so right about the grooming thing. The males of the class seem to not stop as much to groom.

Vivian Period 7
2/21/2010 04:59:02 am

Response to question:
The most frustrating part of this project would have to be the lack of communication between the different periods. It's hard to explain our different training methods and how we work with our rat. I think if our groups consisted of students in our own period it would've worked out a lot easier.

Response to Doris and Samantha:
I also completely agree with these two. Our rat has her good days and bad days. When we have the full week to work with her, she goes through the maze fine. However, when theres a long break in between training, she forgets her good habits and relapses into her bad habits.

Stephen Won P.5
2/21/2010 06:11:22 am

The hardest part for the rat training was definitely the start, our rat was skittish and afraid at the start so we weren't able to start strong but as she grew more and more accustomed to us she learned faster. The cause was probably the punishment that she received at the very beginning although I wasn't there I heard that our rat had a bad experience that resulted in scared behavior.

In support of Haydee
It seems many rats are the same seeing as how our rat also seems to act slow and in need of encouragement sometimes which we do with food, she steals it and then starts up great again. I don't want to not reward after each successful attempt though because I think our rat won't do as well without that incentive of guaranteed food that correlates with success.

Ivana Suh per 7
2/21/2010 06:32:36 am

Respond to question.

Oh dear. The rat training is already coming to an end and it's been, how else can I say it, FRUSTRATING. Probably the most frustrating thing for me, was the fact that the rat was doing so well from the beginning, racing up to the top in about ten seconds, but then without warning, decides to do whatever it wants to just before the final testing is about to take place. Basically, last week. This time, when we put the rat in on friday, the rat decided that it didn't want to start right away, but instead sat there staring on the trainers as if asking, 'you really expect me to do this again?' I understand that it must be tedious to do something over and over again, but what are we sopposed to do when the rat loses it's drive to do the trainer's bidding? I'm thinking, starve it, but that would be cruel, or would it ;).

Just kidding.

Overall, we'll probably fix this by giving it a new positive reinforcement, maybe the rat's just tired of peanut butter. Soo, I guess what I've been trying to say is...Let there be cheese.

Ivana Suh Per 7
2/21/2010 07:16:45 am

Response to Miller's Response to Dennis:
I disagree with Dennis's notion that the rat grooms more due to the fact that the rat is female. Our group has a female rat and she rarely grooms herself during the maze. She only does so when she gets peanut butter on herself.

Also, just a thought to add to that. I understand that in humans, it's mostly the girls who 'pretty' themselves up, but in other animal species such as the peacock, it is the MALE that focuses more on its attraction potential, seeing that their the ones with the vibrant colors, not the females. SO I think it's wrong to assume that the rat's going slower just due to the fact that it's a female, maybe your rat just likes to groom itself? Just a thought.

Cayla Riley p.5
2/21/2010 09:11:13 am

At first our rat was horrible and wouldn't even go beyond the initial starting hole. Now that she has been conditioned, however, she is doing quite well. We aren't keeping her on a fixed ratio as far as her rewards. It is stressful because she knows exactly what she is doing, she's just really prissy and has to always groom herself so that she looks good for the guy rats. It's unfortunate. This means that she chooses when to do it right and when to mess with us.

In response to Emily-
I can relate to being upset about your rat dying when it finally is doing the maze, not because my rat has died yet, but because I am really paranoid that it's going to die before it gets tested. I hope she doesn't.

Justin Phimmasane Pd.7
2/21/2010 10:17:40 am

Response to question:

The hardest aspect of the project so far had been the beginning of the project, where our rat became inert due to a traumatic event caused by SOMEONE *cough* Dennis *cough* in our group lol. This behavior continued on for about a week or so and eventually became extinguished through the group's effort of positively reinforcing it around people to become familiarized with us.

Response to Miller's Response to Dennis:

I disagree with the statement that a rat grooms itself more depending on its gender. During our training, Toffee seldom grooms herself, but does so for prolonged periods when she does groom herself. Considering we are using the same rat, I believe it is more correct to state that Toffee grooms herself for long periods of time on occasion rather than excessively.

Nicole Hudock P.5
2/21/2010 10:35:22 am

At this point in the training the number of difficult and anxiety provoking aspects of the training seem endless. The most obvious anxiety stricken moment would have to be when our rat died after completing the course a number of times with ease and speed. After the first rat died our group made the mistake of choosing an extremely timid rat which only made us further away from success. I am now stuck with anxiety of training our third rat in hope of her finishing in time for the final test.

Kaydee Kelsay Period 6
2/21/2010 10:42:07 am

In response to original question:
The most frustrating part is Buddys spontaneous recovery of pausing at level two and looking outside of the box. Other than that I just hope that we can mantain the rats interest in the maze.

In response to Ivana:
I'm sure you rat will be fine ! :D Be patient.

Kristen Chavez Per. 5
2/21/2010 10:43:20 am

The project as a whole has been the most anxiety-filled process. Not only do we all worry about training the rat and hoping it'll complete the maze as often as possible, its the consistency. With our first rat (because Pounder died :( ) we used much of rote learning because of the repetition and with the hopes that Pounder would memorize it. Now, with our new rat Pav, we have to start this process all over again and it's highly stressful and we keep seeking alternate responses as we do trial and error with the foods he likes. It also makes me very anxious not knowing if we'll be able to run the maze in time for the actual grade. HOPEFULLY we will.

In response to Cayla-
I agree completely with you when you say that the rat is inconsistent and tends to do whatever it wants. It can get quite annoying knowing that even with reinforcements they still have a mind of their own. Also, our first rat did die, and it was devastating, and extremelyy frustrating when we had to start from first base to train again. Keep yours healthy! :)

Alicia Powers P. 5
2/21/2010 10:43:57 am

So far i feel like the most frustrating part of the rat training is the fact that our first rat conditioned very easily. The only main problem we had was that she had to do the maze correctly and in the correct order we wanted. But overall, we had no problem.

Now after finally getting a rat that is okay with being around people, it feels like were back to negative steps. The more mature rats aren't as curious or learn as quickly, so its very frustrating especially because we have less time than all the other groups.

Response to Miller's Response to Dennis:

I don't know about male rats because we have always used females due to the disgusting huge ball aspect. I noticed that the females do groom a lot. For the younger one, it would have a pattern of always grooming in the same spots in the maze. For the two older ones, they just stop a lot and for long periods of time as they're doing the maze to groom, which is also frustrating on a time crunch.

Nicole Hudock P.5
2/21/2010 10:47:20 am

In response to Stephen Won:

I can relate to you and your rats behavior. The first rat was extremely curious and social, where as the second one was so afraid we were forced to return him to the pet store. We think she suffered from some type of punishment. The group and myself are currently in the process of warming the third rat up to people and the classroom environment.

Doris Chan, Period 7
2/21/2010 11:02:12 am

Response to Haydee

Haydee, I'm going to have to say I disagree with your theory on Sophie trying to condition us into letting her steal more food because last week when we were having one of the bad training days where she would stop on the first level and just nibble on the crayons, I had the peanut butter stick extremely close to her to try to lure her away from the crayons. She could have easily stopped and stole peanut butter from me but she didn't. She saw the stick, she smelled the peanutbutter, but she just kept nibbling on the crayons. However, I do agree with you on that fact that we might need to train her differently. Maybe we can discuss this later?

Response to Miller/Dennis

I am going to have to agree with Ivana here. Obviously since we are in the same group, I have seen the same reaction or habits of our rat. Like Ivana stated, Sophie rarely grooms herself when she's in the maze. She usually goes through the maze as quickly as possibly and maybe would occasionally sniff an object or too but she doesn't just sit there and groom. Really, the only time she does that is when she gets peanut butter on herself.

Natasha P.5
2/21/2010 11:34:01 am

The hardest part of the training so far is communicating with the other group members. Which in turn makes the training more difficult because we all have different ideas, so they clash. But thankfully we have a crazy smart rat so hes figured out the box without too many hitches. I just hope he doesn't get sick and during the test i hope he stays on track and doesn't try to look out of the box as he has been doing lately.

Response to Miller's response to Dennis
I think he's a bit off track because the size of the rat shouldn't be too much of an issue. My group has a big boy rat and he does everything despite his size but they could cut back on how much they give as a reward if that is a big issue. Also for the grooming if you continue to stop her while she does that then she should stop that is a little issue we have occassionally.

Lara Deuna p.5
2/21/2010 11:38:26 am

The rat project was fun to me at first but now its just plain frustrating. Out first rat was a genius and did everything with very little direction and didn't need much reward to be motivated to finish the maze precisely and quickly. Then that rat got sick and died. After that we get a new rat that is cute but fairly stupid. She hated anything we tried to reward her with and we started to question if she could even smell. So that rat goes back to the store while we go to replace it with an albino rat. This rat is actually pretty intelligent but a rat can only learn so much in the little time we have left. The project is frustrating because no two rats have the same intelligence. We never know what to expect. And plus, rats seem to have mood swings. -Lara DeLuna, period 4 ;)

Lara Deluna
2/21/2010 11:41:27 am

In response to Cayla,
I agree. No matter how much we attempt to reinforce certain behaviors in any of our rats, they just do what they want to on that given day. Some days they feel like being smart, some days they sit in the box and groom themselves for the whole class period. It's very difficult to predict what the rat will do on any given day, making the training seem pointless and useless.

Kimber Laux p7
2/21/2010 11:47:21 am

I think the most frustrating part of this project is how the rats (as in all three that we've had so far) respond differently to reinforcement. While our first rat went for little to no reinforcement, she would eat pretty much anything. Our current (ALBINO) rat is reallly picky and doesnt respond as well to positive reinforcement. I think it's just more difficult because we have a less intelligent rat and less time to train her, so that the small problems seem much bigger. It's also hard to reinforce a rat that's favorite treat seems to be herself since she grooms ALL THE TIME.

Kimber Laux again, p7
2/21/2010 12:02:01 pm

In response to Lara:

I KNOW! It is unbelievably irritating to go from a super smart rat to one that can't even smell. I'm happy with Lucy right now too, but it's really difficult to adjust your training methods and everything when you're used to dealing with a rat that's so quick. Especially considering that Baby (or whatever that first rat's name was) liked pretty much anything you stuck in front of her, so you barely had to reinforce her and she would run the entire maze. I think it's safe to say that I will definitely be using punishment to raise my kids (JK).

Leilani P. 5
2/21/2010 12:31:28 pm

I have been looking forward to this project since the beginning of the year. But now that I'm actaully doing it, I admit it's a bit more diffucut than I thought.
Our rat is smart and she will do what we want her to do, but sometimes it takes her time. For example the scroll pulling level in our box is proving to be really difficult ofr my class period. But when I talked to other class periods, she will pull it. It shows how each period has different training methods.
Hopefully, she will learn. We are going to try a different type of negative reinforcement.

Tony Ortega
2/21/2010 12:31:53 pm

The most irritating part of this project is communication between all the people working on one rat. We know for a fact that one of our groups doesnt even take notes.

And to respond to Austin, our rats problem is simply list off, Skank has no problem getting through the maze as long as she gets up the first part, but the struggle is actually getting her to go up the vertical edges.

Shelby Grauberger p.5
2/21/2010 01:26:21 pm

The most difficult part of the training as of late has been dealing with our rat's rebellious ways. Sure, we've come across our problems with the maze, but we've been able to straighten those out without too much effort. It seems our rat is so smart that he decides whether or not to push the car properly. He knows what he's supposed to be doing, I have no doubt, but it's his lack of motivation to do it. It's almost as if he's becoming bored with the whole training idea and beginning to test his boundaries. His ways of escaping never cease to amaze me though. Even locked in with paperclips and weights, he's finding ways to escape his cage. I swear if he had opposable thumbs, we wouldn't be able to contain him at all.

In respone to Haydee:
It seems that both of our groups are having issues with consistency. You're rat seems to be conditioning you to do what he/she want you to do, while our rat seems to be shaping us to change it up a little bit. I have no doubts that our rats understand that we are counting on them, the true test is whether or not your rat will decide to cooperate rather than fail you. While a lot of that comes with the reinforcement, all of our rats know at this point know what needs to be done. Whether or not they do it is another story entirely.

Elizabeth Cheng (P.7)
2/21/2010 01:33:29 pm

Throughout the course of this project, we were able to train our rat quite successfully I would say, with the exception of a few bumps along the way-- misunderstandings, and lack of "thorough" communication. We were also able to extinguish some of the unwanted behaviors of our rat...but then the rat himself became extinguished. :(
That being said, we had to start from the beginning with a new rat, which has been a bit of a set back, but I'm looking forward to how it'll progress.

Elizabeth Cheng (P.7)
2/21/2010 01:40:41 pm

(In response to Miller's response to Dennis's comment) :D

I would say that the "excessive" grooming isn't necessarily limited to female rats, because our first rat had a tendency to beautify himself at the end of the first level before he would progress to the next level. But hey, rats come in all sorts. ;D

Keanu Gevero P. 6
2/21/2010 01:45:26 pm

Keanu Gevero P.6
Well, the worst aspect about the training currently, is the sporadic results and actions the rat has been producing. He runs quickly one day and then becomes totally unresponsive, seemingly loosing its ability to run the maze. Other days it will run the box in under 15 seconds and other days it will sit in the first level and look around as if stupid. There are points in the test where the rat also decides to perfectly perform every task and obstacle but other times it will do the wrong thing. I guess the training can never be as perfect as intended and the rat's personality and behavior cannot be completely controlled and accounted no matter how meticulous the conditioning.

In Response To Cayla Riley:
Our rat seems to share that sentiment for grooming. If it isn't running it is grooming. Certain rats seem to have an affinity towards a behavior in the box. Since there was no negative reinforcement used the rats have taken that as a free opportunity to produce unwanted behavior. Even though they have been condition to run the maze they have not been condition to not do certain actions.

Johanna Lozoya p. 6
2/21/2010 02:13:12 pm

The most anxiety provoking aspect of our training has been the miscommunication within the group. In my group not everyone really communicates together but there's like a main representative, me, that has to talk for whole periods to other periods. It's easier to point the finger to a certain person if a period wasn't told something. It's also harder to tell everyone what's going on. Figuring things out through notes is sometimes difficult since some people aren't the best at taking notes. The next hardest part is the fact that rat unexpectedly dies. Our rat died out of the blue on the last week of training. Training a rat in a few days is stressful. Pounder was doing great before he died. He was going through the box in 28 seconds but now I'm scared we won't be able to pass.

Resonse to Leilani:
I agree with you. I was super excited for this project. It's the main reason I took this class. I even got so attached to Pounder, I was crying so hard when he died. And yes, it's hard having the rat do what you want when it's working with 3 different groups of people.

Ryan Gov P.7
2/21/2010 02:24:45 pm

I think the most frustrating part of this experiment is keeping the patience for the rat to do its thing. Since we cannot give it negative reinforcement/punishment, I cannot take out my anger on it and to add onto it, I can't even touch my rat. Our new rat likes to groom a lot which wastes a lot of time too--considering we don't have that much anymore.

Response to Kimber:

I agree with you, Kimber. It's a pain in the butt how our new rat doesn't respond much to our reinforcement. We went from peanut butter, cheese, apples, and even strawberry pop tarts. It is very picky. It loves apples but does not respond to it unless it's put right in front of her face which she then steals.

Kaisa Esguerra P.6
2/21/2010 02:31:47 pm

The most difficult aspect of the rat training was holding communication between the group within different periods. Certain messages weren't being read and the overall communication was horrible in the beginning. In regards to the actual training, the most anxiety provoking aspect was our rat's traumatized state at the beginning of the training. After holding her and allowing her to get more comfortable with each of us, Toffee has done great in her training box. Those first two weeks of training though, were really tough to get through without getting frustrated at other group members.

Response to Dennis p.5:
I don't think that her grooming is completely related to her gender, but I suppose it is possible. In our period, she does struggle with the last part of level five (Miller enjoys that -___-) because she has gained a bit of weight, but she still completes the maze more than 15 times each class.

Alvin Kang (Per. 7)
2/22/2010 01:01:49 am

Simply put, the rat's spontaneity in performance breaks my patience. Two weeks ago, the rat breezed through the maze without major difficulties; last week however, the rat had gargantuan issues slugging through the simplest of the obstacles--that were "pwned" in a few seconds only a week ago. Now with only a few days to work with it, I am only befuddled about how it will truly perform on D-Day. So hopefully, Baby will be able to complete the maze on D-day like it did two weeks ago.

Yeah Miller. Thanks a bunch for the "no negative reinforcement" policy; if it weren't for it, most rats would've been killed multiple times--and over again.

Alvin Kang (Per. 7)
2/22/2010 01:06:41 am

In response to Stephen Won:

I concede with you. My rat was deathly afraid of our "skyscraper" course, filled with obstacles that call for tremendous courage climbing up and down a height of nearly 2.5 feet. Therefore, my group had to constantly reward the rat after each completion of an obstacle--to veil the fear. Fortunately, the rat has substituted the fear with cheese; its eye on the prize overwhelms its conscience of fear.

Alvin Kang (Per. 7)
2/22/2010 01:12:28 am

In response to Stephen Won:

Yeah I concede with you. At first our rat was shy and afraid of the "skyscraper" course, filled with climbing up and down an insane height of 2-3 feet. I felt sympathetic for the rat, since I would not have been able to do the same if I had to climb up and down something proportionally equivalent in height. I commend the rat for its courage. However, this took many runs and trials--marked by epic fails--that eventually conditioned the rat to keep its eyes on the "money" before succumbing to fear of heights. So, it took a lot of cheese for it to complete the course, but I will offer more if it can do better. Fighting Stephen!

Gabriele Ocampo P.7
2/22/2010 09:42:26 am

Response to Miller responding to me:

First off, these 'miscommunications' should be referred to more as 'lack of communication.' For the first two weeks or so, I was fully content with the way our rat was running. I failed to consider that each period could be training the rat with different styles. The important things in my mind were the consistency with peanut butter as the reinforcement and repeated reinforcement after desired actions. Passed those two weeks, our rat showed significant loss in any sort of progress. That was the time I figured that training style must have played a role and we came together as a group to discuss.

I, also, could not complain of any sort of lost time for not having our box completed. We always had the box completed up to where Dante would go. I don't think having the box completely done on that first day would have mattered since Dante could not have even made it to level 3 until only sometime last week.

I believe that the rat's stubbornness is a result of its innate personality. I would also like to bring the difficulty of our box into the equation. Our box has been more abstract as opposed to having clearly defined lines to go through. While some groups have closed off areas the rat isn't allowed to go into or have clearly defined one single objective, our box is open and the objectives may not have been as clear. Ringing bells and pulling strings are not activities rats usually perform, so conditioning them to do so is more difficult. However, it isn't even that. After changing the objective to just snaking through the bells on level 2, Dante still has difficulty grasping the concept that she cannot just run through the level any way she wants to and expect peanut butter at the end.

In that manner, I could assume that Dante would be able to pass through a simpler box if we were given enough time to train it to do so. Likewise, I assume that any group who may have had success with their rat would face difficulties training their rat to go through our box. I'm not saying that our box is too difficult, but I will argue that Dante is too innately stubborn to learn how to go through it.

georgee. period. 6
2/22/2010 10:39:13 am

hmm hope this isn't anonymous D: GIMME MAH CREDIT.

anyways. the fricking block on the 3rd level was definitely the hardest thing for our group. but somehow period 5 or 7 got the rat to grab the block and actually toss it. im like "WTF? WHEN DID IT LEARN THAT?" because the period before i was about to like seriously rip that stupid rat in half because it wouldn't go near the block until we put peanut butter on it.

but its all good now :D the rat's safe. for now.

Paula F. (period 7)
2/22/2010 11:21:19 am

i think one of the most frustrating things about the rat training is making sure the training is consistant between the three periods. when first beginning one of the other periods got in the habit of reinforcing the rat "the wrong way" so we had to go back and essentially retrain the rat at that point.

Paula F. in response to Katherine
2/22/2010 11:27:19 am

i agree. just recently our rat has started to pause at places where we used to reinforce him, expecting something. but our group has been able to use this to advantage when we want him to "beg" at the final level

Karl Regner
2/22/2010 01:20:24 pm

Response to Miller (The one waaaay up there)

We've had problems with the rat grooming, rather than trying to seek food, and she's a female. I'm not sure that qualifies as decent evidence either way.

Leah-period 5
2/22/2010 01:22:59 pm

I really enjoy how we're training the rat and it's a different way to learn about this chapter on learning. But the hands-on experience can get irritating.

At first the rat would choose to do his own thing, and not go where we were training him to go. He seemed to be training us (like how Shelby mentioned earlier) and making us exasperated at his actions. We had to use cues and antecedents so that he would go over the bridge and not behind it. We tried to block the way behind the bridge so that Buddy would go over the bridge.

Through rote learning, Buddy finally managed to do all of the levels on our maze, but it took a lot of cheese/corn and many many practice runs to get him there.

The most antagonizing aspect of this project is the inconsistent method of how to train the rat. Each period had the same basic understanding of how to train Buddy, but not everybody did it the same exact way. There should have been a big meeting of all the periods grouped together beforehand, to decide on just how exactly we should train the rat. That would have left the variables of inconsistency out of the process. Training Buddy would have been easier had there not been set-backs made by each period. And I'm not saying that our period was perfect, we made mistakes as well with our training of the rat.

The most anxiety causing aspect was the first part of getting the box finished. Somehow our group didn't know that we had to have it done the Monday after we received the boxes, so we actually made our box the Saturday after. We started later than most groups and we thought that this would set us back with the training of Buddy. Not every group member could make it due to previous engagements, so their input (which would have been greatly appreciated) was not given into making the box. I personally thought that the box would not take more than a few hours, but with people showing up late and not even knowing where to start, the box took many more hours than expected.

In response to Doris: I understand where you're coming from. Buddy loved running the maze when he was first learning, but now he's not quite as fast as he used to be. He sometimes does some of the levels half way, not as complete as we originally had him doing. Yet we stlil positively reinforced him for his half way behavior, so we learned from that and took him out of the maze if he didn't do it perfectly.

Leah-period 5
2/22/2010 01:27:39 pm

in response to Miller's comment re: Dennis' comment

Buddy likes to groom himself often as well. But I haven't observed the female rats as closely, so I don't have a comparison of whether the females groom more than males.
I feel that Dennis' comment was sexist, but with further observations, we could see if female rats really do groom more than male rats.

Sera Choi- period 7
2/22/2010 03:21:53 pm

In response to the original question:

Because our rat has a pretty definite idea on what it has to do so far. However, that's our only problem. My concern is that the rat will be too comfortable with the maze that he'll either complete it slower than usual or just lie there in the first level until taken out of the box. Punishment or negative reinforcement would only confuse the rat even more and possibly refuse to run the maze at all, knowing he'll get punished. He has just made such a habit that a reward of the same amount of cheese or peanut butter would not motivate him to complete the course.

Another difficult aspect to the rat training is to get him used to performing in front of crowds. The testing will require the whole class to observe each rat one at a time, and it would require more reinforcement to get him to complete the maze with a number of people watching.

In response to Paula F and Leah T.:

I agree with the fact that communicating with other groups is by far the hardest part of this rat training. Although our rat is able to stay consistent with almost every obstacle we put him through, I noticed that between every period, he's somewhat confused about what he has to accomplish or completely ignore the reinforcement made by the other periods. I definitely agree that the all the groups know what is expected of the rat in each obstacle, but does it in a completely different way. So the rat is reinforced in different methods for the same action. This could possibly cause the rat to have difficulty in extinguishing the wrong actions because of the different reinforcements.

Jae Song
2/22/2010 03:27:38 pm

In response to Stephen W.

Our rat wasn't always scared of heights it was fine when we first got it. But when the rat was "traumatized" by a certain FRESHMEN SCREAMING AND SHOOING the rat because it peed made the rat become traumatized. Our obstacle course wasn't a *easy* course but all three classes wrote notes to each other teaching each other what to do which made it easier for us to work together and trained it the same way using peanut butter, thin wheats which were used as reinforcements and now runs the maze without a problem

In response to Dennis P.

yeah women.... always grooming -_- it stops way to many times to groom it self.

Sera Choi-Period 7
2/22/2010 03:29:17 pm

In response to Dennis P.:

I cannot say that I agree or disagree to Dennis because I wasn't able to look at the other rats up close. However, my male rat is often called "Pretty Boy" because it grooms occasionally, mostly in the very beginning of the course. Like Justin said, although it is of the male sex, it grooms for a long period of time rather than frequently. I don't think female rats should be generalized to that they groom more than males. And Leah is right--it is sexist.

Matt Lee Period 7!
2/22/2010 10:55:28 pm

Response to question:
Lately I've been very laid back about my rat, but one thing still worries me. The concept of extinction! I'm afraid that our rat might just suddenly forget what's happening and just spazz and jump out of the box or something.

In response to alvin:
I feel the same way with the spontaneity of the rat. Sometimes she'll go smooth but occasionally she just does the complete wrong thing. It begins to frustrate me because I've seen her do it flawlessly many times.

Also, sometimes I wish punishment and negative reinforcement would work... Sometimes it seems much easier, but it's inefective according to milldawg :(

Willem Arjana
2/24/2010 11:24:35 am

The hardest part for our rat is pretty much the vertical aspect of the maze and having her no look out of the maze and not turn back at the start. The worst part is when she stayed at the start and just groomed for the longest time and makes us go crazy. But I think that when we do the tests tomorrow and Friday, she'll be able to do it in under the 1 minute and 30 seconds time we have; as long as we stop her from turning around and looking out at the start.

Amanda Starkey P. 6
2/27/2010 03:25:46 am

Personally, the most difficult part was making sure that the rat was trained the exact same way, and that everybody's ideas were heard. It was hard to be sure that ideas were being heard by everyone and not just brushed off and replaced with personal ones.

Amanda Starkey P.7
2/27/2010 03:29:45 am

Responding to Doris Chan p.7

I completely agree, as did Sam, Sophie just seemed to regress in certain areas, as you may have seen in period 7, she messed up on the 2nd level, which was extremely frustrating because previous to that there was not problem at all with the little triangle that she decided to go around.
Before the actual test we ran her, and she did awesome, then as soon as Miller came over she went around it, but she did seem to have thoughts that she messed up, which is why I'm guessing she just sat there, because she's used to us correcting her when shes wrong.

Amanda...again. p.6
2/27/2010 03:30:40 am

btw..I'm obviously period 6. Typo!

Elena P. 6
2/27/2010 09:36:04 am

The rat training was a experience I definitely wont forget, it was frustrating, aggravating and my patience was tested. There were times were I wish I took the alternate route and not decided to do the rat maze but in the end I did and it actually gave me a better insight on experimental psychology. My group and I struggled post training. It took a excessive amount of time to add the embellishments which caused the rat training to be somewhat unorganized. I don’t feel as if our group didn’t try hard enough I just think we needed to be a little bit organized with our communication. After we had the obstacles in the box, Dante began to do fairly well with completing the obstacles, although when we didn’t give Dante reinforcement with peanut butter she would completely pass level one and from there on she did what she felt like. For example when she reached level three, the level where she was suppose to pull the strings in order to show the banner, she only pulled down the one with her name on it and disregarded the rest. The rat was not inept in any way, but there could have been the possibility of incorrect reinforcement. Even though Dante didn’t pass successfully through the maze, I cant say that my group and I didn’t put forth the effort, we struggled with Dante. We would go five steps forward one day and ten steps back the next.

In response to Karl P.7,
since i was in your group, i completely agree with you with our box not being done on time i felt that it might have been a factor in her failure to complete the maze.

Nicole Arevalo p.6
2/28/2010 01:15:28 am

The worst aspect about the training currently,was Waffles spontaneous personality. NO fear of heights jumping from me onto george and sliding down! Does she want to kill herself, plus constant moving. Waffles was a very unpredictable rat at times and made me question if she was the one training us. Especially her sporadic results and actions that occured towards the maze. She would do the maze perfectly fine for three trials and run through amazingly fast due to hunger i suppose. Then develops an inablilty to run and is unsure. The most frequent: hopping levels.. As well as peeking to the right continuosly as if there is a surprise hidden somewhere. She is very unpredictable and can be very stupid at times. I suppose the rat's behavior/ personality can not be trained no matter how much conditioning. Unless we were allowed to use punishment.

Response to Dennis:
Although it is thought that females are to groom more than males. That is certainly not always the case. I believe that it depends on their personality. Because comparing to humans I know quite a few that can not get enough of themselves (you guys might know him, starts with the letter I) Waffles did not groom that much unless she was fed a lot, ran through the maze a number of times or got peanut butter all over herself. Another factor or reason a rat may groom itself a lot may be due to the opposite sex being present.

Ronald S p.6
2/28/2010 04:27:53 am

the rat training wasn´t son bad up until the rat dies. then it gor frustrating because the new rat wouldn´t eat anything. When it was figured out what the rat like we just had to train... patiently.

Respond to Dennis¨
I'm not sure how much the female rats groomed but both are male rats did not groom as much and as for Dennis's rat it seemed extremely well in the maze so i don't know why he was complaining.

Daniel Won P.5
2/28/2010 04:58:11 am

Our rat demonstration and test was a success. Waffles did a great job with her training and was a fun experience for all of us. Occasionally, she would be erratic and really spontaneous, and like Nicole said Waffles is not afraid of heights. One time she tried to jump off my shoulder onto her cage, in which we would not let her do. Throughout our training we had a lot of token reinforcers, and used her primary reinforcer for food. Furthermore, a lot of practice and drill was conducted.

Response to Ronald

I honestly do not know the pain and frustration you went through because our rat didn't die. However, I can understand the deal of patience that is needed when the original rat dies, and your group has to retrain and reinforce again. It is also possible that different reinforcers help out different and various rats.

Daniel Won Period 5
2/28/2010 05:02:32 am

Response to Dennis

I honestly don't think gender has anything to do with the rat training. All rats groom, and all rats can turn fat. Our rat, Waffles, for example is female and has turned a little fat since the beginning. But she was still successful in her training and passed her "maze exam."

Ivana Suh Per 7
2/28/2010 05:46:07 am

Finally the long anticipated test is over. Some boxes were successful others were not. For me, it was frustrating on the test date because suddenly, Sophie went around one of the obstacles instead of going through it. Rats can be so random sometimes...

Travis Pullen P.6
2/28/2010 10:31:27 am

Through the entire rat training I was worried if our rat could actually make it. The biggest part of the anxiety was when Mr. Miller told us, the week of rat training, " that the rat can't go backwards or look outside of the course." This part really worried me because our rat was naturally curious and always wanted to look around. Now That anxiety is over with and our rat passed with only 14 seconds left. That also was extremely nerve racking.

Response to Kimber Laux,
Well for starters sorry for your rats dieing. I agree that all the rats tend to accept different forms of reinforcement. Our group was lucky enough to have found her food so early. So anyway congrats on passing and now no more anxiety to deal with YAY!!!!

Bianca Recto P. 7
2/28/2010 10:54:32 am

The most difficult part of the rat training was communication between the groups. There were some disagreements over petty things and there were some minor problems but in the end everything was resolved and training usually went smoothly. The only anxiety provoking aspect of the training was that our rat, Sophie, still kept missing obstacles that we thought she had already mastered.

In response to Elena,
I agree that there could have been incorrect reinforcement and it's true that lack of communication can really put you behind on the training. But still, you guys did pretty well for a rat who just refused to be trained.

Bianca Recto P. 6
2/28/2010 10:56:12 am

Period 6! Typo...

Martin (Hates-Everything) Ramos P.6
2/28/2010 02:25:19 pm

I’m going to talk about this in a delusional state of mind pretending our rat experiment went somewhat decent. While we were training the rat the most frustrating part was not knowing when to reinforce it where our other team members had, so as to not confuse the rat. The rat experiment itself wasn’t the confounding issue, but knowing what our team members had previously done. Not knowing our team members worsened the situation (I finally met the Asian girl they call Leilany the final week of training). The rat was smart it was just very stubborn and too rebellious to condition. I think we should have understood the concept of operant conditioning a little bit better, seeing as this was the main means of training the rat, because that’s where we struggled the most. There were times when the rat would do everything perfectly and we thought that its rebellious tendencies had gone through operant extinction, but the next training session it seemed to have gone through spontaneous recovery, becoming even more rebellious and stubborn, in the grand scheme of all things proving we had not grasped the concept of conditioning and learning.

I’m obviously not happy with the results, but I suck it up and accept them. This experiment showed me that maybe I don’t have a full grasp of what experimental and behavioral psychology is, and thus I need to spend a bit more time studying those two extremely crucial topics of psychology.

The outcome of this experiment has made me feel really despondent (SAT word for super sad and miserable LOL), because since freshmen year I was so anxious and excited to get to see how I would fair up, but I guess I was trying to chew more than I could swallow. Its depressing because I cant redeem myself, and its not so much the grade that is depressing to me, but the feeling of inadequacy and incompetence. But in a sick and twisted way I’m glad that the other 8 people of my team also failed.

I’m also glad to see my group wasn’t the only one who had issues with communication and dedication. (reference to Bianca’s post).

Response to Bianca’s post:
Thanks for the pick-me-up but its not working. We failed completely and the worse part is that there is no way to regain or better yet attain the experience we were supposed to get from this experiment.

I should have fed that little S***K arsenic when I had the chance. lol JK!!!

2/28/2010 03:52:09 pm

its over!!!!


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