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An inexpensive infrared detector to verify the delivery of food pellets.

Authors
  • Pinkston, Jonathan W
  • Ratzlaff, Kenneth L
  • Madden, Gregory J
  • Fowler, Stephen C
Type
Published Article
Journal
Journal of the experimental analysis of behavior
Publication Date
Sep 01, 2008
Volume
90
Issue
2
Pages
249–255
Identifiers
PMID: 18831128
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

The reproducibility of experimental outcomes depends on consistent control of independent variables. In food-maintained operant performance, it is of utmost importance that the quantity of food delivered is reliable. To that end, some commercial food pellet dispensers have add-on attachments to sense the delivery of pellets. Not all companies, however, offer such add-ons. Aside from availability, cost and temporary reduction in throughput may be a problem for smaller labs. The present paper outlines our recent development of a simple, inexpensive infrared device to detect and confirm the delivery of pellets. The in-line construction of the detector routes the falling pellet through a barrel so that it passes between an infrared emitter and receiver. The circuitry was designed to be compatible with all commercially available behavioral measurement systems, and so may be retrofit to any existing system. Our tests with the detector so far have shown that it is 100% accurate in detecting pellet delivery. The individual unit cost is approximately 25 dollars. The low cost and versatility of the device offer an easy method to ensure the integrity of food delivery in operant settings.

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