User’s Manual
Roger D. Ray, Ph.D.
(AI)2, Inc.
Copyright © 2008
CyberRat User's Manual
Table of Contents
Chapter 1 -- Purchasing, Downloading,
and Using CyberRat:
WorldWideWeb User
Registration Requirements
Chapter 2 -- Getting Started
Chapter 3 -- Using the Colony Room
Chapter 4 -- Setting Experimental Parameters
Chapter 5 -- Conducting an Experiment
Chapter 6 -- Replaying Movie Sessions
Chapter 7 -- Graphing Experimental Results
Chapter 8 -- Multi-Beh Analysis and Coding
Chapter 9 -- Quitting/Exiting
CyberRat User's Manual
Chapter 1
Purchasing, Downloading and Using CyberRat:
WorldWideWeb User Registration Requirements
Step 1: Purchase CyberRat to obtain a “Proof-of-Purchase” number
and the required digital video source material. If your instructor has
ordered CyberRat for local purchase, you may buy it at your school
bookstore. We strongly encourage making your purchase, which is
always cheaper, directly from us on-line at:
On-line purchases may be for a downloadable version of CyberRat at
$20US or a CD for $30US. A download purchase will result in you
receiving, typically within 24 hours of purchase, an e-mail with an
activation number and registration instructions. If you buy a CD, Your
Proof-of-Purchase number is printed on the inside cover of the CyberRat
CD jewel case. On-line purchasers are mailed the CyberRat CD via U.S.
mail, and you should allow 3-5 days for delivery.
Step 2: Register your Proof-of-Purchase number, student ID, the
correct school, instructor, course, and section at:
Step 3: For maximal playback results, move the entire CyberRat
folder from the CD, if you purchased a CD, to your computer’s Hard
Step 4: Establish an internet connection then launch CyberRat and
Login with your Student ID number (not the Proof-of-Purchase number).
CyberRat User's Manual
Purchase Requirements
You may purchase CyberRat at your college or university
bookstore, but it will typically cost more there. A less expensive purchase
may be made by credit card or check via on-line purchasing direct from
(AI)2, Inc. If you intend to purchase CyberRat via our convenient and safe
PayPal buttons rather than your institution’s bookstore, you must
purchase and receive your CyberRat Proof-of-Purchase number prior to
on-line course registration. To purchase on-line, you should go to:
where you may pay through PayPal (you do NOT have to be a registered
PayPal account holder) and download your CyberRat copy from:
On-line purchase and download links are also accessible from our
company web site at by following the CyberRat
Purchase links and Download links from that home page. Alternatively,
you may send a check or money order for $20 (US) for a download
activation or $30 (US) for a CD to:
(AI)2, Inc.
P.O. Box 2963
Winter Park, FL 32780-2963
If sending a check for a CD, be sure to include a desired shipping address
where we can send your CyberRat CD.
CyberRat User's Manual
On-line Course Registration Requirements
To use all of CyberRat’s many features, each student must register
on-line at to be properly assigned to their respective
school, instructor, and section where CyberRat is a required course
resource. Even individual users who are not using CyberRat as a course
requirement must register for at least the “Individual” section.
Registration requires two different numbers to be used: the Proof-ofPurchase number and a student ID number. Student ID numbers are used
for login.
Proof-of-Purchase Number Registration. Everyone using CyberRat
must begin their on-line registration by entering the unique “Proof-ofPurchase” number printed on the inside cover of their CyberRat CD jewel
case. This unique proof-of-purchase number is matched against a master
list on our servers to assure that only one course and experimental-history
record is created for each individual. Any number currently in use will
not function for a second registration using that number.
Student ID and Course Identification. As a second step in the online registration process, student users also are required to register for
their course and subsequent use by supplying a student ID number for
login and assignment reporting purposes. This login ID assures that an
instructor will know each student by their appropriate student number for
tracking student progress and assignment of grades. An incorrect ID
likely will result in your instructor failing to know who you are.
Registering for the wrong course or section will almost guarantee no
assignments will be reported correctly. It is thus very important that each
student register for the correct school, instructor, and section using your
own student ID.
Visitor Only Services. If you attempt to launch CyberRat without
prior required registration via the world-wide-web, or you launch without
being connected to the internet, you will find only “Visitor” services
available. These services are restricted to having access to only one
animal that has already been water-magazine trained and will only be
CyberRat User's Manual
available for one session of training each time the program is launched.
No experimental logs, animal history, or assignment reporting services are
available, and no alternative animal subjects may be selected.
A Walk-Through of the Entire Process:
DOWNLOAD -- Let’s walk through the Download process:
1. Begin at where, on the left margin is a
list of links to various web pages--we have several alternative products,
and most have their own home and purchase pages.
2. Click on the "CyberRat Home" link (third down from top). On
this CyberRat home page are two "Sub-Menus" labeled:
"CyberRat Details"
"Download CyberRat"
CyberRat User's Manual
3. Click on the "Download CyberRat" link. This will take you to the
main CyberRat “hub” for downloading, getting User Guides, and links for
Purchasing. Let’s explore the content layout of this page, as illustrated
CyberRat User's Manual
There are really four main sections on this page.
First is for INSTRUCTORS….ignore it.
Second is IMPORTANT FOR STUDENTS telling you that, after
downloading, you need to purchase and eventually register your
purchase (more on this in a moment). Importantly…there are duplicates
of links in this notice that will take you to the CyberRat Purchase page if
you will simply click on one.
Third is CyberRat User Guide Downloads, which is, well….User
Guides (both a brief, but illustrated “Quick Start” guide for how to launch
and use the program, and the other is a detailed “Full User Guide” with
CyberRat User's Manual
lots more pictures and details concerning every feature, how to find them
and how to use them. These are printable pdf files, so we highly
recommend their use.
Fourth, and most important is CyberRat Program Downloads. Not
much mystery here, other than choosing the one for a Windows PC or an
Apple Macintosh computer. Finally, there is another note about needing
to purchase to make this download a fully functioning application, not
simply a demo version. This note has yet another copy of the links to the
CyberRat Purchase pages.
PURCHASE -- Let’s Walk Through the Purchase Process:
Click on one of the CyberRat Purchase links that are in either the
IMPORTANT FOR STUDENTS section or the NOTES section:
This takes you to a page where you are told all about the options for
purchasing, and stresses the need to make a payment either by check or
via our PayPal Buy Now links on this same page:
CyberRat User's Manual
What are my Purchase Options?
Purchase options are spelled out on the CyberRat Purchase page,
but briefly you may:
1. Pay $20 to receive an activation serial number via e-mail (allow
up to 24 hours to receive this e-mail) to activate your downloaded copy.
2. Pay $30 to receive a mailed copy of a backup CD that also
includes a serial number for activating your download (or CD) copy. (Non
US students should ALWAYS purchase the download version, no CD
will be mailed out of US).
NOTE: There is ONLY one difference between the CD and downloaded
version…the CD has virtually the same amount of video as the
downloaded version, but it uses almost 400 MB of storage and is thus
slightly better quality, although you have to look really closely to see the
difference from the 40 MB video in the downloaded version. We also offer
CyberRat User's Manual
a free download of the higher-resolution video. If you want to add the
larger video to it, let us know and we’ll send you simple instructions on
how to do this.
What Did I Buy?
Within approximately 24 hours (often much less) of completing
your purchase you will receive an e-mail with a CyberRat Activation
Number that reads pretty much as follows:
Thank you for your purchase of the downloadable version
of CyberRat. Your serial number is 3FCR#########
Go to to register this number and
complete your course registration so your instructor may
receive your assignments when you complete them. A
fully illustrated User Guide for CyberRat may be
downloaded by using the last link on the following web
You may download CyberRat itself at:
If you are using a Windows computer, be sure to have
Apple's (free) Quicktime Player V 7.x installed.
Otherwise, the playback video screen will simply show as
a black screen.
REGISTRATION -- How and What Do I Register?
As the activation note says, go to: (NOTE the BIZ at the end!)
There you will see the following:
CyberRat User's Manual
The CLICK HERE at the bottom of this page starts the registration of your
Activation/Serial number, whether it was e-mailed or in the CD doesn’t
CyberRat User's Manual
Stage 1: First, you Register your serial number….type it in and
click Send Information:
Next, you need to submit a STUDENT ID number (your university ID)
that will also be used as a LOGIN ID when you start using CyberRat:
CyberRat User's Manual
The remainder of the registration process should be selfexplanatory as you go through it…you are essentially signing up for the
instructor, school, course, section that requires use of CyberRat. This
assures the right instructor gets your data when you run experiments!
INSTALLING -- FINALLY….how do I install it?
When CyberRat downloads, it comes to your computer as a
compressed “package” that has to be installed. On Macs this is a DMG
installer process. On PC/Windows it is a Zipped exe package. In either
case, launching the install package starts a process that ends with
placement of a folder called CyberRat that should end up on your main
HD. If all else fails, use the system’s “find” and look for “CyberRat” to see
where it is! Inside that folder is an application also called CyberRat.
When you launch it, it asks for a User ID…your registered STUDENT ID.
The rest is, well….in either of the User Guides! Good luck and enjoy your
CyberRat User's Manual
Chapter 2
Getting Started
Step 1: If you purchased a CD, move the ENTIRE CyberRat
FOLDER to your Hard Drive to install it. See the last paragraph in
Chapter 1 for details.
Step 2: You MUST be connected to the internet to have full
services available while using CyberRat. Establish an internet connection
then launch CyberRat.
Step 3: After establishing an internet connection and launching
CyberRat, Login with your Student ID number (not the Proof-of-Purchase
CyberRat is a "virtual reality" product implemented through the
convergence of advanced interactive digital video, internet databases and
behavioral systems technologies. CyberRat has been distributed to you on
a CD-ROM, but it requires that you also be connected to the internet.. This
section describes why this is so and how you go about purchasing (if you
haven’t yet done so) and setting up the CyberRat system.
Installing CyberRat on your Hard Drive:
See the last paragraph of Chapter 1 for instructions regarding the
installation of CyberRat to your computer’s main Hard Drive.
Using CyberRat:
Internet Connection and Login Requirements
CyberRat User's Manual
Once you have moved the CyberRat System folder to your hard
drive, you will be ready to explore how the system works. The CyberRat
application provides students with the opportunity to shape rat subjects,
just as if those students were conducting an actual operant conditioning
experiment with real animals. We have made every effort to require the
same activities, in the same sequence, as is required in real laboratory
conditions. To begin this enterprise, you merely need to launch CyberRat
by double-clicking on the application icon that looks like this one:
As the application launches you will see a "splash" screen welcoming you
to CyberRat:
This screen subsequently presents you with a dialog box requiring you to
login, either as a Visitor or as a recognized student using a registered
student ID number. Let's consider each of these two options and what
happens when you select them as your Login Input.
Login as a Visitor to the CyberRat Laboratory
As noted above, when you launch the CyberRat application, a
dialog box will ask you to "Please enter your Student ID:" as illustrated:
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In this section we are assuming that you wish only a brief, and therefore
limited, tour of how CyberRat looks and feels. Likewise, we are assuming
that you are not actively connected to the internet through your ISP or
network connection. Thus to accept the default entry of Visitor, merely
click the OK button.
What Does Visitor Status Mean with Respect
to What I Can Do in the CyberRat Laboratory?
As a Visitor to the CyberRat laboratory, you are not only limited in
what you can do with your animal subject, but also certain default
assumptions are made by the system to allow you to move directly to
shaping your first rat subject to press a lever or "bar." Unlike the
individual who registers with a valid student ID number, you don't have to
select a subject from the colony room, don't have to deprive it of water or set any
experimental parameters, and may go directly to the "Conduct Experiment"
room to place your already assigned and deprived subject into the operant
conditioning chamber for shaping. All of the limitations are given to you
immediately after you register as a Visitor through the following message
in the Title Screen:
CyberRat User's Manual
The message window, titled “Visitor’s Limitations,” states that, “You’ve
asked for Visitor status, which means: --only one rat (magazine trained)
in your Personal Colony; --your experimental data will NOT be save after
a session; --during the session all other features are completely
functional.“ Having registered as a Visitor, you don't need to know about
all the requirements for experimenters. Thus you need to skip to the chapter
called Conducting Your Experiment (Chapter 7) in this manual to find out
what to do next.
Login as a Registered User
of the CyberRat Laboratory
As noted in Chapter 1, all users of CyberRat are required to first
register at for an appropriate course and section
assignment, even if you are not a student but rather are an “individual”
user. Beginning at the home page, follow the “On-line
Registration” links to complete this process. IMPORTANT: As stated
previously, if you intend to purchase CyberRat at our on-line ecommerce store rather than your institution’s bookstore, you must
purchase and receive your CyberRat Proof-of-Purchase number prior to
registration. To purchase on-line, you should go to:
CyberRat User's Manual
where you may pay with a credit card and have the CyberRat CD sent
to you by U.S. mail services. Your Proof-of-Purchase number is printed
on the inside cover of your CD. The on-line purchase link is also
accessible from our company home page at by
following the CyberRat Purchase links on that page.
Assuming you have entered your correct student ID in the login field as
illustrated below:
you should soon see a server recognition that confirms who you are and that
gives you the current preference setting for conducting much of your
experimental session off-line (useful if you are using a phone modem
connection to the internet, but you must disconnect manually and MUST
reconnect prior to log-out to save your session data) or with a continuous online connection, as illustrated below:
Once you have confirmed your preferences, you will receive instructions that
you are ready to go to the colony room to select an animal for
CyberRat User's Manual
Clicking the “OK” button (or pressing return/enter) may subsequently bring
up a field displaying any and all messages waiting for you from your
instructor concerning assignments or dates broadcast to the entire class,
personal communication sent only to you as an individual, or perhaps even
messages from our company, (AI)2, Inc. about upgrades or other news of
Clicking directly on any message field will expand/contract that field for
easier reading, as illustrated below:
CyberRat User's Manual
CyberRat User's Manual
Chapter 3
Using the Colony Room
Step 1: Go to the Colony Room (use default “OK” at login or select
from top-right navigation button).
Step 2: In the Colony Room, use the Add New Subject button to
obtain experimental animal(s).
Step 3: Select the desired experimental history for each animal
Step 4: Name each animal subject.
Step 5: Select one animal subject for experimentation.
Step 6: Go to Experimental Parameters section to set up your
experimental arrangements and parameters.
For Registered Experimenters Only
Visitors to the laboratory are automatically assigned an animal
with a specific experimental history and specific pre-experimental
preparations. As such, they don't have to know anything at all about the
way our Colony Room is maintained or how subjects are obtained. This is
not true of Registered Experimenters.
CyberRat User's Manual
If you are a Registered Experimenter, you will be required to
obtain your subject(s) from the Colony Room prior to any experimental
session. After you are recognized as a registered experimenter upon
login, you will see a reminder note, which will take you, there merely by
clicking the “OK” button illustrated below:
You may also go to the Colony Room by selecting that option from the
Navigational pop-up button at the upper right of each screen.
Adding an Experimental Subject
To select a new subject use the Add New Subject button above the
graphic of the animal’s home cage as illustrated below:
CyberRat User's Manual
After you have added each new subject, a field appears which requests
that you choose a specific Experimental History for this subject. You need
to choose the prior experimental/training history you want for this subject
by clicking on the desired selection:
Selecting a specific history for your subject is followed by a dialog box
indicating the selected history and instructing you to "Please give a name
to your new Partner." Actually, a default name is already provided for
you. However, you do have the option of typing any new name for your
experimental subject by typing over the selected default name. After you
are satisfied with your subject's name, click on the OK button to register
that name.
CyberRat User's Manual
You need to click on the OK button to acknowledge that you have been
reminded of this information.
Selecting one of Your Subjects for Experimentation
When you move your mouse over the list of animal names, each
name will bring a submenu popup allowing you to “Select for Session,”
to “Present Journal” or to “Eliminate Subject” from your colony
Moving your mouse over this popup menu will hilite each selection you
touch with the cursor. Moving your cursor to “Select for Session:”
CyberRat User's Manual
will activate a subject for experimentation, as subsequently indicated in a
field that appears below the graphics of the animal cage. It will also give
you a reminder that you must go to the “Set Experimental Parameters”
screen to arrange conditions for your experiment:
Clicking on the “Set Parameters” default button (or pressing return/enter)
will automatically take you to that screen.
Your Personal Experimental Journal
If you move your cursor over the “Present Journal” option, a
complete “Experimental Journal” of that animal will appear:
This journal contains the complete session-by-session history of the
subject’s experimental treatments and gives individual subject details,
such as initial training history, weight and an ID number that helps
instructors know something about this individual animal’s learning
parameters. It also presents an option for selecting the animal for your
CyberRat User's Manual
current experimental session or for eliminating the subject from your
personal colony:
Eliminating a Subject from Your Personal Colony
If you would like to remove an animal subject from your personal
colony for any reason--for example to replace one subject with another
animal--move your mouse to the name of the subject you wish to work
with and when the side popup menu appears select “Eliminate Subject.”
When you elect to eliminate a subject, a warning message appears to make
sure this was your intention:
CyberRat User's Manual
Clicking on “Confirm” will bring a confirmation window notifying you
of the complete elimination of your selected subject from your personal
CyberRat User's Manual
Chapter 4
Setting Experimental Parameters
The “Set Experimental Parameters” screen allows you to establish
all of the experimental conditions you wish to use for your experimental
session. These include establishing a schedule of reinforcement (which
may also include identifying which category of behavior you wish to
reinforce—such as bar pressing, turning in circles, rearing, etc.), how
much reinforcement to deliver each time, how many hours your animal
has been isolated from the water reinforcement (deprivation schedule),
how long you want your session to run, etc.
Setting the Active Reinforcement Schedule:
Of course, one of the first things you will want to do is to set the
“Reinforcement Schedule” by using the menu button at the upper right
As with most operant conditioning chambers, the one used for
CyberRat is equipped to sense automatically the occurrence of only one
type of behavior--the depression of the bar that protrudes into the
chamber in the center of the left wall. This allows the apparatus to track
CyberRat User's Manual
"bar pressing" behaviors and to automatically deliver reinforcement to the
subject based upon any of several alternative rules. Thus, if you plan to
have bar presses automatically reinforced by the experimental equipment,
you must select a schedule for this reinforcement by using the
Reinforcement Schedules. Selection of a given schedule automatically
gives you the appropriate slider selectors for setting required parameters.
Be sure you set all parameters required.
The specific options, and the rules that each follows, offered by the
Reinforcement Schedules button may be summarized as follows:
Manual Reinforcement: The subject will not be exposed to
any automatic reinforcement
schedule unless you also select
“with Bar On”. Selecting Manual
Reinforcement allows you to train
and maintain any response class
you wish, but you must deliver
each reinforcement yourself, using
whatever rule you wish.
CRF Reinforcement:
The experimental subject will
receive reinforcement for each
instance of a bar press. Because all
bar presses are automatically
reinforced, the experimenter is not
required to set any slide
parameters for reinforcement.
Fixed Interval:
The subject will receive
reinforcement for the first bar press
response made after a fixed length of
time. The experimenter must set
the length of this fixed time
interval during which the subject
will not be reinforced by sliding
CyberRat User's Manual
the indicator on the slide
parameter scale to the desired
Variable Interval:
The subject will receive
reinforcement for the first bar press
response made after a varying length
of time. The experimenter must set
the length of this varying time
interval during which the subject
will not be reinforced by sliding
both the maximum time and the
minimum time indicators on the
slide parameter scale to the
desired maximum and minimum
time units within which the
subject will not be reinforced.
Establishing both a maximum and
a minimum will cause a simple
mean number to also be
established, and the indicator will
automatically adjust to that
The subject will be reinforced after a
fixed number of bar presses. The
experimenter will need to set the
slide indicator at the desired
number of presses.
The subject will receive
reinforcement after a varying number
of bar presses. The experimenter
will need to set the maximum and
minimum number of bar presses
after which the subject will be
CyberRat User's Manual
reinforced. Establishing both a
maximum and a minimum will
cause a simple mean number to
also be established, and the
indicator will automatically adjust
to that number.
Fixed Temporal:
Under this setting a drop of water
“reinforcement” is delivered
strictly on a regular, or fixed,
timed schedule every X seconds,
and is delivered totally
independently of what the animal
is doing.
Variable Temporal:
Under this setting a drop of water
“reinforcement” is delivered
strictly on an irregular, or
variable/random, timing schedule
every X seconds on average, and is
delivered totally independently of
what the animal is doing.
No bar presses will be reinforced
under this setting, although some
prior training of some behavior is
assumed to have already taken
place. Therefore, the experimenter
will not need to set any other
reinforcement schedule
No bar presses will be reinforced
under this setting and no prior
training is assumed.
CyberRat User's Manual
If you have selected a Manual Reinforcement Schedule with the
Bar OFF, the system assumes you are intending to shape an alternative
form of behavior. In order to know how to graph this behavior, a list of
alternative forms of behavior the graphing system can recognize is offered
for your selection. You may, of course, type in your own alternative
description to appear in your journal. But in this case graphing the
alternative will not be possible.
There are at least two, and as many as three, slide indicators located
on this screen, depending upon whether you select a schedule of
reinforcement that needs parameter specifications. Each of these serves a
different function. Each of these functions has a default setting for new
experimenters, but each also allows you to change settings for the desired
schedule of reinforcement, the amount of water delivered for each
reinforcement, and the number of hours your subject has been deprived of
water prior to the experiment. For example, if you selected a Fixed Ratio
schedule of reinforcement, the Ratio parameter bar would appear and the
slider allows you to establish the number of bar presses required for
delivering each reinforcement, as illustrated below:
CyberRat User's Manual
Default Parameter Settings
The equipment in this laboratory is always set to a commonly used
default setting for all parameters. These include:
1. A Continuous Reinforcement (CRF) schedule, set to deliver a
drop of water automatically for each Bar Press. This setting also
allows the experimenter to deliver reinforcement manually, as
will be described in Chapter 5 on Conducting the Experiment.
2. A .1 ml Magnitude of Reinforcement
3. A 23-hour deprivation schedule.
Setting the Magnitude of Each Reinforcement
Water is the type of reinforcement used for experimentation in the
CyberRat laboratory. The amount of water delivered per reinforcement is
measured in terms of percentage of the maximum water intake your
subject will consume in the first ad libitum drinking bout following
deprivation. The normal setting for this magnitude of reinforcement
parameter is between .5% and 1.5%. This allows you approximately 30 to
60 minutes of continuous reinforcement. You may reset it to any level
up to 10% by dragging the sliding indicator up or down to the desired
level. Higher settings, of course, result in much faster satiation.
CyberRat User's Manual
Setting the Number of Hours of Water Deprivation
As in all experiments using reinforcement, you need to deprive
your subject of any access to the reinforcer prior to experimentation. In
the case of CyberRat, this means setting the number of hours that water
has been inaccessible to your subject. Different deprivation schedules
will, of course, have quite different impacts on your experiment. A
frequently used deprivation schedule is 23 hours, where the subject is
used in an experimental session only once each day at the same time.
Typically, the subject receives water both during, and for a limited time
period immediately following, that singular session.
To invoke a current deprivation history for your subject, merely slide the
indicator to the desired number of hours without water access.
Setting Parameters for Stimulus Discrimination Training
CyberRat is also capable of learning to discriminate whether a
given light is on or off. To establish the parameters for this, begin by
CyberRat User's Manual
checking the “Stimulus Control” check box at the center top of the Set
Experimental Parameters screen. This brings up a Parametric Settings
panel as illustrated below:
You may select to manually control the light conditions by clicking on the
light itself during your experiment (useful if you wish to use some unique
procedure), or you may select to have automated control of light
presentations. There are two alternatives for automated control. The first
is the use of a “Fixed” or regular schedule, with the S+ set for some
specific duration that doesn’t fluctuate, and the S- set for another (same or
different) duration that also doesn’t fluctuate. Alternatively, you may
wish to have a “variable” S+/S- schedule, with some average duration,
which you may set, but which randomly varies in real durations around
that average.
Setting other Parameters for Conducting Your Experiment
With some schedule selections you will be allowed to decide
whether you also wish to be able to manually deliver reinforcement and
whether an animal’s bar pressing will also deliver reinforcement. This can
be used during shaping for example. Or you can turn off the bar and
deliver only via manual reinforcement if you wish to train behaviors other
than bar pressing.
CyberRat User's Manual
You may also select to view your entire experiment while it runs
(required for shaping behavior) or to “place your animal in the chamber
and return when the experiment is complete” via a “Fast Simulation”
mode that plays no video during the session.
In most experiments you will also want to set the Session Duration
so the experimental session self-terminates after a fixed time interval,
some number of reinforcements, or even after a set number of bar presses.
You may also decide to allow a “Manual Termination” that overrides this
automatic session termination in cases where you might wish to abort an
experimental session. All of these settings are found on the far right of the
Set Experimental Parameters screen as illustrated below:
CyberRat User's Manual
Chapter 5
Conducting an Experiment
Go to the menu and select "Conduct Experiment" (typically when
you have completed setting the experimental parameters for your
experiment, but you may actually select this option from any screen
within CyberRat):
Once there, note the blank window in the center of this screen. Note
also the data field that appears above the blank window. The data consists
of the subject's name, history, and the experimental parameters selected
for this experiment. The button "Start Experiment" also appears in the
lower right hand corner. To proceed with the experiment click on "Start
CyberRat User's Manual
You will immediately see an operant chamber appear in the window and
an animal will be placed into the chamber. Your experiment has now
begun, and the clock on the lower right will show your session’s progress:
NOTE: If you selected to have Manual Reinforcement available, the
Reinforcement button in the bottom-center of your screen is “hot” and
clicking anywhere on this button will reinforcement whatever the animal
is doing at the time you clicked this button. This is thus a very important
button if you are shaping a new behavior! Inserted within the
reinforcement button is a counter that shows you the number of times
reinforcement has been delivered, whether manually or automatically
through the animal’s own bar pressing (if Bar delivery is “Activated,” as
indicated by the teal-blue light at the upper right of the screen.
Ending Your Sessions:
Sessions may end in one of two ways. If you have selected the
“Allow Manual Termination” option in your Parameters Settings, you
will see an “End Experiment” button replace the “Start Experiment”
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button at the lower left of your screen. Clicking on this button will
terminate the session at any time. Alternatively, if you established a
parameter to determine a fixed length for your session, when the clock
reaches that time the session will self-terminate. Upon termination the
experimental window will once again return to all black and you will see
a dialog box asking if you would like to save the movie script for the
session just completed:
If you wish to playback any part of this session as video, you should save
the session’s record and movie. A second dialog will give you an
opportunity to also add a short note about anything worthy of comment
about this session for your animal’s personal experimental journal:
Saving some commentary notes may be useful for future clarification of
procedures or special characteristics of the session, or you may want to
communicate some problem, reflection, or statement to your instructor.
The notepad that appears when you click “Yes” will give two separate
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fields for just this type of personal note and communication to your
instructor. It also allows you to mark this session as a “completed
assignment” session to flag it for your instructor, who will be able to
review it via the Instructor’s CyberRat Course Management software:
Other Features:
If you have established a schedule of reinforcement that is fixed or
variable, but always intermittent (i.e., not CRF), you will see appropriate
status counters at the far left of the experimental window to show your
progress. Likewise, if you have set your experimental parameters to
include a stimulus discrimination component, you will see the
Discrimination Stimulus (S-) along with the “Bar Activation” status light
on the right of the experimental window. Which light is “on” will tell you
the current status of experimental conditions for the animal, as illustrated
CyberRat User's Manual
If you have set your Discrimination schedule to Manual, clicking on the
lights will alter their status.
Graphing Your Session’s Results:
As soon as your experimental session ends and you
have responded to the questions about saving your session
movie script and notes, you will see a small graphic icon
appear in the lower right section where the run-time clock
was during the session, as illustrated at the left.
This icon offers a “short-cut.” Clicking on this icon button
brings you immediately to the “Graphing Results” screen
and automatically displays graphically the results of the
session you just completed (see Chapter 7) as illustrated
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Any notes you made for yourself or comments to your instructor will also
appear in the details field inserted into each graph at the upper left corner.
This field may be close at any time merely by holding down your
“Option” key and clicking inside the data field.
CyberRat User's Manual
Chapter 6
Replaying Movie Sessions
Go to the Navigational Menu and select the "Replay Session" to
view a video replay of any experiment(s) you have conducted where you
also saved the video script when the experimental session was complete.
This screen allows you to review any session for any subject recorded in
your experimental Journal or the Sample Archives. Select an experimental
subject from the upper left menu labeled “Select Session’s Record” as
illustrated below:
Selecting an animal by name brings you that animal’s experimental
journal. Review this animal’s experimental history from your journal
entries, then after reading details of each session, select the session with a
saved video record you wish to review in movie form. Selecting a session
is as simple as clicking anywhere within the separation lines defining a
given session summary:
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Once you select a movie session, you can manipulate the movie by
using the player control panel. There is the option to play, pause, forward,
rewind, or close the movie:
CyberRat User's Manual
Chapter 7
Graphing Experimental Results
The CyberRat laboratory offers you a sophisticated graphing
system to help you analyze and report your data. Because you may graph
your data long after you actually conduct your experiment, or you may
wish to compare one session or subject with another, the graphics system
offers you a wide range of options. But having a wide range of options
implies that you must inform the graphics system quite precisely about
the data you wish to plot. Thus we will consider the many options and
requirements of this powerful system.
Selecting a Subject, Session, and Behavior to Graph
As noted at the end of Chapter 5 concerning the Conduct of
Experiments, when a session has been completed it always leaves you
with a short-cut option to view the results of that session. In this section
we will cover how to graph other sessions and/or other subject’s data. To
begin graphing data from alternative experiments, you need first to Set
Data Source using the top left menu button illustrated below:
You may select any session from your personal experimental journal,
which is kept automatically for each of your experimental subjects, or any
session from the supplied Session Archive:
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Selecting either a specific subject by name or the Archive from the Set
Data Source menu will bring you a further selection option that allows
you to choose any specific experimental session to be graphed. This
selection is made merely by clicking once anywhere inside the
informational section describing the desired session:
After selecting your subject and session, the data for the current
default behavior category will be graphed for that subject. If you wish to
view any alternative behavior corresponding to that same session, you
may do so by selecting from one of the various alternatives offered in the
“Target Act” menu, as illustrated:
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Click on the behavior you wish to have plotted in your graph. In the
illustration below, Going to the Water Dipper is graphed, along with all
deliveries of reinforcement for bar pressing during that session:
Viewing Your Data
There are three alternative forms of graphing offered at the top of
the Graph and Analyze screen. These include the “Traditional”
cumulative recorder as a “chart strip,” a clipped and pasted
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“Composition” of curves nestled together as is sometimes used in
publications, and a “Compact One Line” that places all data within the
space offered by the graphic screen. If you wish to view more than one
session superimposed as a “set” of graphs, use this Compact One Line
When your selected session has been graphed, you may “store” it as a
member of a set of graphs for comparison merely by selecting the “Add
Graph to Set” option of the “Graphing” menu, as illustrated below:
You may then reselect a new session for graphing and add it to this
developing “set” of comparative graphs as well. As many as six graphs
may be grouped as a set. When you are ready to compare plots of all
members of your set, use the Graph the Set menu to select Graph Set as
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As suggested by the other show alternatives, you may erase this graph,
print it, or save the set. An illustration of 3 graphs as a set (Sessions 10, 11,
and 12 of animal Gruffy experiencing extinction due to Ratio Strain) is
given below. Note the numbering and alternative colors for each session:
To delete a set of sessions, use the “Erase the Set” option of the Graph Set
CyberRat User's Manual
Zooming in on Details:
When you have graphed in either Traditional or Compact One
Line mode, you may also “Zoom” in on a given segment to enlarge the
details. This is often quite useful for seeing details such as FI scallops or
FR break-runs that are typically obscured by low-resolution plots of an
entire session. To Zoom, merely click-and-drag your mouse from the
desired beginning to the desired ending of the segment you wish to view
in high-resolution format.
Reviewing Video Corresponding to Graphics:
When you have graphed in either Traditional or Compact One
Line mode, you may review your saved video record of that same session
superimposed on your graphic. This is especially useful for translating
actual on-going behaviors into their graphic abstraction depicted on the
cumulative record. To do this, merely click on the section of the graph
you wish to begin viewing while also holding down the “Shift” key as you
CyberRat User's Manual
The video viewing window is movable (click it and drag while holding
the mouse key down) so you can easily adjust it to see any hidden graphic
details. Moving it will pause the movie, so you need to start the play
again when you have it positioned:
CyberRat User's Manual
Other Graphing Options:
There are many other features that are largely self-explanatory,
such as the option to “smooth” the step-wise features of the cumulative
record, changing from minutes to seconds on the X axis, using the
Graphing menu to hide/show grid lines or to hide/show the session info
box (clicking on the student ID number at the upper right does the same
thing), as well as the ability to reset X and/or Y axis parameters (again,
use the Graphing menu to select each) and even saving alternative X/Y
parameters as your preferred defaults:
CyberRat User's Manual
Chapter 8
Multi-Beh Analysis and Coding
CyberRat includes not only the traditional Operant approach to
analyzing an experimental session via Cumulative Graphing techniques,
but also gives users the option of viewing a multi-behavioral perspective
on experimental sessions. Using a built-in “expert’s” coding system, the
Multi-Beh Analysis and Coding section of CyberRat allows students to see
how targeting one class of behaviors for reinforcement also impacts
virtually all other behavioral classes when a simple inclusive coding
system is used for such an analysis. Further, this section of CyberRat
allows students to learn how to code such behaviors either selectively (i.e.,
focusing on one category of choice) or collectively (i.e., doing real-time
continuous codings) to sharpen their discriminations of behavioral
For those not yet familiar with the descriptive research methods
underlying the use of multi-behavioral coding and the sequential analysis
techniques afforded by continuous recording of such multiple behaviors,
we highly recommend Bakeman and Gottman’s (1997) primer on the
methodology. For a discussion of further research implications we also
recommend Ray and Delprato’s (1989) article on various strategies and
tactics implicit in this approach.
To enter this section of CyberRat, use the “Navigation” button to
select the “Multi-Beh Analysis and Coding” option as illustrated below:
CyberRat User's Manual
If you have recently conducted an experimental session with a
selected animal, or if you have recently graphed that session or any
session from a journal selection, then when you select to go to the “MultiBeh Analysis and Coding” section that animal and session will
automatically be pre-selected by default. In this case the first thing you
will experience is the “translation” progress bar showing you how much
time is likely to remain for completing the process of translating from
CyberRat’s internal “video clip play” script to the multiple behavioral
category system used by the “expert” who coded all of the video clips
possibly used for CyberRat video play:
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Because every session is a unique sequence of these various video clips, a
“continuous” record of how those clips translate into the coding scheme
for this session is required.
If you do not experience this progress message immediately when
you first enter the “Multi-Beh Analysis and Coding” environment, it is
likely that you have not previously selected an experimental animal and
session. Alternatively, of course, you may have experienced the
translation of your session only to decide that you would prefer to code or
view a multiple behavioral analysis perspective on quite a different
session than the defaulted session. In any of these cases, use the menu at
the upper left to select any of your animals’ journals, then select from the
journal listing the session you would like to analyze and/or code as
illustrated below:
Once the translation of the default or selected session is complete, you
may begin to actually use the tools offered in the Multi-Behavior Analysis
environment. These tools fall into two distinct families: 1) Graphing
multiple behavioral data; and 2) Learning to code or practicing coding
CyberRat User's Manual
with the use of multiple categories. We will explore each section in turn,
and will begin with the Graphing tools.
Selecting a Table or Graph for Depicting Multi-Behavioral
There are several tables and graphs available to help you
understand what is happening behaviorally during your experimental
session. Some of these are based on a “sequential” analysis of how
behaviors change continuously across time. In such a sequential analysis,
the focus is on types of behavioral change from one category to another.
Absolute Frequency Tables
The most typical approach for conducting a sequential analysis is to
begin with a simple frequency count of how many times one type of
behavior was followed, in turn, by another type of behavior when the type
of behavior changed. So the first menu option is this simple “conditional
frequency” table illustrating the absolute numeric frequency with which
each type of behavior preceded a change into a specific subsequent type of
Selecting the “Show Frequency Table” brings up a “conditional
frequency” table summarizing all behavioral changes during the selected
session as illustrated in the close-up below:
CyberRat User's Manual
Such a table gives the total frequency for each type of behavior in the row
totals column, the total number of behavioral occurrences in the lowermost cell on the right (Total Beh Acts Registered), and the conditional
frequencies for each category changing into a succeeding type, or
category, of behavior.
Relative Frequency, or Probability, Tables
However, absolute frequency distributions share the weakness
common to all simple frequency distributions, in that they are not easily
compared across different durations of sessions. It is thus more
instructive to view these numbers in relative, or probabilistic, terms. This
option is offered via the “Show Probability Table” selection:
CyberRat User's Manual
Which brings you a “conditional probability” table commonly used for
sequential behavioral summaries, as illustrated in the close-up below:
In this form of table, the row totals show the relative “unconditional”
probability of each behavior category. This means the sum of all rows is
1.0 for the grand total of all probabilities. Within each cell is the
“conditional probability” whereby one can say that “Given the occurrence
of behavior X, there is a Y probability that the subject will next engage in Z
behavior.” The “Given the occurrence of behavior X” portion of this
statement defines the “pre-conditions” for the probability of behavior Z
occurring, which is thus referred to as the “conditional” probability of Z.
CyberRat User's Manual
The table above, for example, shows that 41% of all behavioral
occurrences in this session were Explore behaviors, and that given the
precondition that the animal was exploring, it would next engage in
Moving from one location to another in 69% of all behavioral changes, and
would engage in Rearing upright in another 21% of behavioral changes
from Explore. Bar Contacts account for only 3% of all behaviors during
the session, so one may hypothesize that this animal was not a trained
Time Data Tables
One of the distinct advantages of continuous behavioral coding is
the opportunity to analyze temporal parameters of behavioral events.
Thus one may ask questions about the typical duration of a single type of
categorical event (average duration) or the total time spent in such
categories across the session (total time, either in absolute or relative
terms). To access such a temporal summary, use the “Show Time
Distribution Table” option as illustrated below:
This brings you a table illustrated below in this close-up of the relevant
portion of the entire screen:
CyberRat User's Manual
In this case, we can see that Grooming is the longest duration behavior,
lasting on average 4.3 seconds per bout. But nearly 61% of this session
was spent in exploring the chamber (.607), and 13% of the session was
spent moving from place-to-place. Another 20% of the time was spent
rearing with both forepaws off the floor. What type of experimental
conditions might you hypothesize were used for this session? What
animal history? (Ans: Habituation session using a naïve animal)
Using Bar Graphs instead of Tables
Bar graphs the same data described in several of the tables above
have bar graph counterparts available in the same pull-down menu that
offers the table selections. Specifically, absolute frequencies, relative
frequencies/probabilities (unconditional), total time per behavior, and
mean duration for each behavior is available. Just to illustrate one of
these, we’ll consider the “Show Probability Graph” selection:
CyberRat User's Manual
This selection brings a bar graph showing the same data illustrated in the
Probability Table:
Viewing a Single Category as a Cumulative Record
Bar graphs are informative for relative comparisons, but they don’t
show how any given behavior is distributed across the elapsed time of the
session. For this we need to return to the Operant technique of
cumulative records, but now will want to graph the expert codings rather
than the fixed categories defined for training with CyberRat proper. To
graph a cumulative record for any behavior in the catalog, first select the
“Cumulative Graphs” option:
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And you will be prompted to select the behavior category you wish to
graph as a cumulative record:
Use the upper left menu to choose a behavior category of interest:
CyberRat User's Manual
And the temporal distribution of each occurrence of the behavioral
category will be graphed across the duration of the session:
In the example illustrated above, it may be seen that “Grooming” occurred
more frequently during the middle of the session than at the beginning or
To return to the main Tables and Graphing, or alternatively to go to
the Coding environments, use the “Navigational” menu at the upper right
of your screen:
CyberRat User's Manual
It is to the Coding Environment that we will now turn our discussion.
Learning to Code – Step 1
It is not uncommon for a student to have difficulty properly
shaping his/her first rat to bar press. Typically this is due to poor ability
to discriminate behavioral criteria for reinforcement. They either don’t see
the critical dimensions in need of positive reinforcement to complete the
successful shaping though various stages of successive approximation or,
if they do see them, they don’t respond to them immediately—their sense
of when behaviors start and end is not yet well developed. Discriminating
both the “form” and the “timing” of behavior is something that can, and
often needs to be, learned. In these cases, as well as in situations where
general descriptive research methods are being taught, learning to
properly code different categories of behavior continuously and according
to clearly stated “operational definitions” can help teach the student to
discriminate behavioral topologies generally, and especially those related
to successful shaping specifically. So the CyberRat environment has a
“shaping” process built in for shaping behavioral discrimination skills!
As with any “successive approximation” process, it is best to start
with the simplest form of behavior and progress systematically to the
most difficult, or “target,” behavior. CyberRat’s Multi-Beh Analysis and
Coding environment offers just such a sequence for teaching coding skills.
Begin with the “Behavioral Coding Examples” selection:
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Whereupon you will experience a choice panel. Beginners will want to
start with the “Play Code Illustrations” option:
At first, the screen will appear to be mostly “blank” with only a list of
behavioral categories showing at the center-right:
Try clicking on one of these categories to see a video illustration of that
category as it occurred within your selected session. Of course if it never
occurred, it won’t be available. And if it occurred only once or twice, you
won’t be able to see many variations of it. In this case, you may want to
review several sessions. But if your selection did occur in your current
session, a video replay of the first example will appear, along with a very
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precise “operational definition” of that particular category code, as
illustrated in the next graphic:
To review the selected segment again, click on the “Play Again” button
just below the behavioral category label:
To view the next available example of the same category across the
session, click on the “Show next X” (where X will be the selected category
being illustrated) button at the bottom of the categories listing:
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All categories should be previewed sufficiently to have a clear
understanding of the operational definition shown. Pay especially close
attention to the special notes and exceptions listed for each category, and
attempt to memorize these definitions so that you can recognize any
example and correctly label it with the proper code. Now you are ready
to move to the second stage: reviewing the actual session record coding
line by coding line.
Learning to Code – Step 2
Use the “Examples Menu” at the upper left to switch between the
options for viewing the codes. In our Step 1 illustration, you selected
“Play Code Illustrations.” Now you are ready for “Play Narrated
Record” as illustrated below:
There are some options that you will want to consider on this new screen.
The first is how the narrated play will operate once initiated. There is a
panel at the upper-right labeled “Play Mode” which allows you to play
the video sequences at your own pace (“Play Record controlled by
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buttons”) or to auto-advance (“Play Record with pauses of X secs
between Acts/Codes”) by specifically paced pauses between behavioral
changes. You may select alternative pause intervals once you are at a
level where auto-play is comfortable, but you should probably begin with
self-paced playback. To set this, click on the checked box to “deselect” it
and toggle-select the alternative, as illustrated:
Now you are ready to click on any “coding data” line you like to begin
CyberRat User's Manual
Use the “Play Again” or “Play Next” buttons just below the video screen
to repeat the current segment or advance to the next segment:
Again, once you are confident of your ability to follow how each segment
of the session was coded by the expert, you are ready to move to your
own attempts at coding by following the steps describe next.
Learning to Code – Step 3
Use the “Navigation Menu” at the upper right to go to the
“Behavioral Coding Training” screen. If you are learning to code only
one type of behavior, select the “Start Single Beh Coding” option. If you
are learning to code continuous occurrences of all types of behavior, select
the “Start Continuous Coding” option:
In either case, you will be given a “coding panel” to click on the behavior
of choice, and to record its time of occurrence. In addition, you will see
the beginning of the session frozen on the video playback screen along
CyberRat User's Manual
with several options for controlling video playback. Work with whatever
options you become most comfortable with, but many find using the
“frame advance” buttons (back and forward) to “step” through the video
the most convenient. You may hold these buttons down for slow but
continuous play forward or backward.
Your goal is to find the END of a given behavioral category and
record the category just completed by clicking on its label. For example,
all sessions begin with the animal not yet in the box. There is a special
category for this period called “STRT” (start) and it ends JUST PRIOR to
both hind feet being in contact with the grid floor of the chamber.
Advance the video until you find this point:
Now click on the STRT category to record both this category and the time
shown on the session/video run-time clock in the “My Continuous
Coding” field above the categories:
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You will immediately receive feedback as to the accuracy of your coding
and timing:
As illustrated in this example, if you are only one video frame (it runs at
15 frames per second) off of the expert’s ending time recording of this
behavior, you will be told that this is “close enough” and that a
“corrected” version of this time and frame will be recorded in the data
CyberRat User's Manual
and set for you to continue. If your coding was too late or early beyond
this 1-frame tolerance, you will be told. Also, you will be told whether
you agree or not with the expert’s coding category for this behavior. If the
category or the time is wrong, you should click “Cancel” and try coding
this segment again:
Anytime you wish to “clear” your coding record and begin again, you
may do so by clicking on the button to “Clear My Coding.” A
confirmation dialog will ask if this is really what you wanted to do:
CyberRat User's Manual
If you wish to save a partially coded session so you can return to work on
it another time, you may do so by using the menu button on the upper
Once you have saved your work, you will have a confirmation shown:
Later you also will have the option of reloading either continuous or
single-behavior coding files (if they exist) for continued work:
CyberRat User's Manual
Learning to Code – Step 4
Use the “Navigation Menu” at the upper right to go to the
“Behavioral Coding Practice” screen. This screen looks very much the
same as the previous screen described (see Learning to Code – Step 3),
except on this screen you have no feedback offered when you click on the
category code to register the end of a behavioral event. At this stage you
are working much like any professional researcher with a coding software
system for merely recording your observations. But there is one major
difference still. Instead of offering you line-by-line feedback on the
correctness of your coding, this screen offers you the use of a statistic
called Cohen’s Kappa (see Bakeman and Gottman, 1997) for calculating
inter-observer agreement as a measure of coding skill and reliability. So
after you have coded your behaviors you will want to use the item within
the “Coding Menu” at the upper-left that allows you to “Evaluate My
Coding” as illustrated below:
This selection brings up a table, called a “confusion matrix,” which
measures how you coded an event against how the expert coded the
event. Cohen’s Kappa subtracts out the agreements one would expect to
occur by chance, and thus is a very conservative measure of inter-observer
CyberRat User's Manual
Because Cohen’s Kappa is highly sensitive to even single-frame
disagreements, this table offers a tool for changing the “tolerance” of
acceptable frames of disagreement. For example, in the above table, there
are several disagreements entered in the cells of the confusion matrix, thus
making for a relatively low Kappa calculation of .61 as the corrected
percentage of agreement. How to adjusting the tolerance to 1 frame of
video difference in coding is illustrated below:
CyberRat User's Manual
Notice the impact of this adjustment on the confusion matrix, and
correspondingly on Cohen’s Kappa illustrated after the 1 frame
adjustment for timing tolerances:
Cohen’s Kappa is now 1.0, or a perfect agreement between the expert and
the student coder.
To return to the coding screen from the inter-observer agreement
screen is accomplished by clicking on the “X” close box at the upper left of
the matrix, as illustrated below:
CyberRat User's Manual
Chapter 9
If you are in the “Multi-Beh Analysis and Coding” environment of
CyberRat, you must return to the main CyberRat environment to exit/quit
the program. To return to CyberRat, use the Navigational Menu at the
upper-right of all screens and select CyberRat Laboratory as illustrated
To quit or exit from within the CyberRat laboratory, go to the main
Navigational button at the upper right of each screen and select Quit/Exit.
If you have been working offline the system will remind you to reconnect
to the internet so your records may be updated. When this process is
complete, a brief dialog box will advise you of the status, as illustrated
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CyberRat User's Manual
Bakeman, R., & Gottman, J. M. (1997). Observing interaction: An
introduction to sequential analysis (2nd edition). Cambridge University
Ray, R.D. & Delprato, D.J. (1989). Behavioral systems analysis:
Methodological strategies and tactics. Behavioral Science, 34, 81-27.