Several of you have asked about the research I've been a part of at school.
As many of you know, I took a laboratory course this past fall in which I got to work with a pigeon and an operant chamber.
I accidentally cut it off the screen, but, in this training session, the bird is pecking at a 2.7 cm white circle (you can see the faint outline of it, I think). After each peck, he receives access to food for 3 seconds. This is a continuous reinforcement schedule - meaning, the bird is reinforced every time he pecks.
Also, disregard the banging sound that occurs after each peck. The camera was vibrating against the plexiglass of the chamber and did not actually make that sound.
We should be starting the actual experiment soon, with this bird and an additional 7 birds. I don't have the details in place yet, but we're going to be looking at how various experiences AFTER receiving training impact future recollection of that training - something that is scientifically called "retroactive interference."
This project is sort of a baseline for what will be my own Honors experiment. It's rather simple, but will allow us to secure an experimental design so that we can explore more complex phenomena.
DISCLAIMER: Animal studies are a touchy subject. I want to mention that this laboratory is completely appetitive - meaning, we do not use punishment or aversive events like shocks and fear on the birds. I also want to point out that most of these birds are ex-breeder birds that would have otherwise been destroyed. No bird's life is sacrificed in this lab - in fact, a large percentage of the birds are living well past their expected lifespan!