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/NEW COLLEGE File NEWS RELEASE NEW COLLEGE, SARASOTA, FLORIDA FURMAN C ARTHUR INFORMATION FOR RELEASE: THURSDAY, Dece er 1, 1966 Care and feeding of 40 white rata baa been added to the work of a group of New College psychology students. The rata are the first animals acquired for research by students at New College. Used primarily for basic experients in behavior, the rata also serve students doing original research in learning theory. The rata are housed in a special roo in the recently completed second part of the Selby Science Building. Each of the rodents baa ita own individual cage com-plate with containers for water and food. The rats' "work" consists of learning to push a lever when a light goes on. If they do their work p.aperly, they are rewarded by food pellets relea ed to them by a chanis operated by the lever. For this work, the ani .. la are placed in elaborate cages known as Skinner boxes. The Skinner boxes, named for a pioneer in this area of research, are cages larger than the rata' usual homes and connected to a variety of measuring and recording instruments. Sometiwea, even though the light goes on and the rat pushes the lever, no food is released. By this method of alternating reinforce nt, the animals can be taught fairly patterns of response and their ability to learn varying patterns of related events can be charted by the students. -morae
NEW COLLBG! Page 2 Only positive reinforce nt -in this ease a reward of food -ia used in the students' work with the ani ala. The rats are never hurt or harmed in any vay. According to Dr. David Gorfe1n1 assistant profes or of psychology at New College, the addition of the rats and the new laboratory facilities baa greatly increas d the effectiveness of the psychology program at the college. Not only has work with the rats promoted interest in the field1 Gorfein says, but tudenta now have the opportunity to perfor,m v luable psychology experi.anta on a regular basta. For nearly all of the eight to t n students doing regular work with the rata, at least one hour per day is required just to maintain the experiment. Each of the students assumes total responsibility for the care of the rat or rats he is using in hie work. Third-year student Sandra Rugal of Waterford1 Wise., spends a part of every afternoon caX'ins for those rata not being loyed in research at the moment. A psychology ujor1 Miss Rugel will also do her senior proj ct -a year-long study project and thesis required of all third-year students -in the area of learning among very young animals. For her project she will have to besin the first breeding of the laboratory animals at New College. At the present time1 all 400of the rata are feaalea which were purchased fro a scientific aupply houae.
NEW COLLEGE Page 3 For Miaa Rugel'a projeet, male rata will be bought and bred with tha feaalea. She will then measure the rate and manner in which learning goea on in the new-born rata. Another third-year student, lay Bennett of Shady Side, Md., ie alao doins hie senior project with the rata. Jn addition, several second-year atudenta are currently engased in four-week independent study project with the ant.alat are a number of firat-year student -3o-