| Introduction to
B.F. Skinner's operand
If you have taken some type of psychology course you might be familiar
with 'operand conditioning',
which is the method developed by by B.F. Skinner in which an association
is made so that a certain stimuli produces a desired response. Based
on an association, we can get a turtle eating vegetables. In Skinner's
experiments animals were conditioned that when a certain light was turned
on (stimuli), food would be suppllied (response). At the end of the
experiement the animals developed such an association that just by turning
on the light, the animal would start to salivate. Using Skinner's
principles you can make your turtle associate the taste of a certain vegetable
with that of something she really enjoys eating.
Stimuli and response
It is not good to feed ground beef to a turtle, but this is an item
that they really love and it is easy to mix it with other products.
I use ground beef (stimuli) in small amounts just to condition the turtle
to develop a taste (response) for vegetables so that she eats them
with pleasure. In my experiments I have used carrots.
I blend some slices of carrots and make a mixture of one part of carrots
mixed with one part of ground beef. I feed it to the turtle.
She will easily accept the mixture since it contains the 'meat flavor',
but unconciously she will start to associate the taste of the carrots with
that one of meat.
I feed this mixture a couple of days and then progressively I go on
diminishing the amount of meat and increasing the percentage of carrots.
After one week of feeding the mixture, you can present the carrots
alone to the turtle, cut up in small squares. See if she eats them.
If she doesn't even touch them, continue feeding the mixture. If
she starts eating the carrots, you have succeded on the experiment.
The mixture is not intended to be fed to the animal as the only food
source. You have to continue to provide her with a varied diet while
the experiment is in progress.