Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


43rd Annual Convention; Denver, CO; 2017

Event Details

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Symposium #504
CE Offered: BACB
Those Bugs Can Do What? Exploring the Learning Abilities of Invertebrates
Monday, May 29, 2017
5:00 PM–5:50 PM
Hyatt Regency, Centennial Ballroom B/C
Area: EAB; Domain: Basic Research
Chair: Matthew L. Johnson (Southern Illinois University Carbondale)
CE Instructor: Matthew L. Johnson, M.S.
Abstract: The continuity of species as a key concept in behaviorism, and subsequently behavior analysis, highlights the range of potential organisms available for studying behavior. Invertebrate laboratories within behavior analysis programs are expanding, and thus, so are the variety of invertebrate species studied. This symposium will showcase a series of three talks from three different research teams involving the utilization of non-traditional animal subjects to explore the analysis of behavior.  Each paper will focus on a single invertebrate organism, discuss the deviations from the traditional operant chamber that were needed, and provide data illustrating learning in these under represented species of animals. The three papers being presented address topics such as the effects of psychoactive chemical compounds in flatworms, escape and avoidance modeled in the Madagascar Hissing Cockroach (MHC), and an assessment of the effects of residual chemicals on MHC behavior. Implications about new technologies within animal and invertebrate research will be discussed.
Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): Cockroach, Invertebrate, Metabolite

Assessment of the Reinforcement and Stimulant Properties of Nicotine Metabolites

BRADY J. PHELPS (South Dakota State University), Tayler Hutchinson (South Dakota State University), Katie Lang (South Dakota State University ), Shafiqur Rahman (South Dakota State University)

We will present data pertaining to the reinforcing and stimulant properties of the major and minor nicotine metabolites, namely cotinine, anabasine and nornicotine, using the invertebrate Planaria as an animal model. The reinforcement effects will be assessed using the conditioned place preference (CPP) procedure. The stimulant properties will be assessed with two measures involving human observers: motility measured as the number of grid lines swam across over a 1cm2 grid placed underneath a Petri dish in a five minute interval, in different metabolite concentrations and stereotypy/hyperkinesias-abnormal stereotyped movements indicative of strong stimulant concentrations. Stereotypies were counted as number of occurrences per five-minute interval during exposure to different concentrations of the metabolites. The typical concentrations we assessed are .01mM, .03mM and .06mM for anabasine and nornicotine as these compounds had toxic effects upon the flatworms at stronger concentrations while cotinine allows for the use of much stronger concentrations of up 5mM.


A Systematic Investigation of Residual Chemicals in Madagascar Hissing Cockroach Performance

NICOLE TAKLE (St. Cloud State University), Benjamin N. Witts (St. Cloud State University)

It is unknown if Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches (MHCs) respond to chemical residues left from previous sessions with the same or different MHC. Understanding if performance might be in part due to past sessions would be of benefit to those who study MHCs. In Study 1 we used a Y-maze with removable sections within each arm. Using one male MHC as the subject, we alternated between which arm was scented and which was clean. To gather the female's scent, we housed her on a piece of cardboard for 48 hours. The results of Study 1 showed a minor preference for the clean arm versus the arm with the female's scent, therefore we decided to replicate the study and include the male's scent. In Study 2 we used a square apparatus with half of it covered in clean cardboard and the other covered with either the female's scent or the male's scent. We used 4 subjects, all dominant males, and two females for scent on the cardboard. Results from this study showed that there were both within subject and between subject differences for time allocation related to female and self-scents. The results also highlight the importance of cleaning apparati during cockroach research

Towards an Invertebrate Model of Avoidance and Escape
LINDA MUCKEY (Southern Illinois University), Mark R. Dixon (Southern Illinois University)
Abstract: Aversive stimuli and their effects have been studied widely in vertebrate laboratory animals. Relatively much less attention has been given towards invertebrate models of avoidance and escape. Although well documented in rodents and pigeons, research on escape and avoidance in other organisms is limited. This paper will explore a variety of potential aversive stimuli and their effects on the behaviour of Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches (Gromphadorhina portenosa). Specifically, the effect of electric shock and varying intensities of electric shock will be assessed. A specially designed shock grid divided in half with variable voltages allowed for each half of the grid to be individually adjusted from 0V to 30V. Simple avoidance and escape responses were demonstrated by the organisms. Additionally, the Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches responded discriminatively to differential shock intensities. Intensity and duration of electric shock were correlated with relevant dimensions of escape and avoidance responses. Implications of the findings and avenues for future research will also be discussed.



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