Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Orange Is The New Black: Every Varecia Has A Story

Welcome to Prancing Papio's Correctional Facility. The individuals mentioned here had their names changed to protect their privacy. These ruffed lemurs were sent in for behavioral modifications and will not be released until they are in their best behaviors.

Say goodbye to your loved ones, Varecia. Just like Teresa Giudice (Jew-dee-cheh)

Ladoo, DeeJay, Bees & Ferdinand: Male Black and white ruffed lemurs

Problems:
  • Known to drag their hands on the SMARTA touchscreen without paying attention to the task. 
  • Known to mindlessly mash their hands all over the SMARTA touchscreen without paying attention to the task. 

Treatment:
Have been assigned to learn how to station properly and then targeting the correct stimulus before being released.


Lizzie: Female black and white ruffed lemur

Problems:
  • Known to touch any squares without discrimination.
  • Known to use the touchscreen as support, thus activating the touchscreen.

Treatment:
Has been assigned to learn how to station properly and then targeting the correct stimulus before being released.


Tuck & Mitten: Male red ruffed lemurs

Problems:
  • Known to drag their hands on the SMARTA touchscreen without paying attention to the task. 
  • Known to mindlessly mash their hands all over the SMARTA touchscreen without paying attention to the task. 

Treatment:
Have been assigned to learn how to station properly and then targeting the correct stimulus before being released.


Karma: Female red ruffed lemur

Problems:
  • Known to drag her hands on the SMARTA touchscreen without paying attention to the task. 
  • Known to mindlessly mash her hands all over the SMARTA touchscreen without paying attention to the task. 

Treatment:
Has been assigned to learn how to station properly and then targeting the correct stimulus before being released.

DISCLAIMER: Not an actual picture of the correctional facility 

Their behaviors will be positively reinforced by using a whistle as a bridge. Every positive behavior will be rewarded with food. All else will be ignored. Frustrations will be abound. Extinction will be imminent. But will they make it out a changed Varecia? Stay tuned.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Cheating The System


OK this is too good not to share. It turns out that some of my lemurs have learned that the payout for paying attention and complete a task correctly for a food reward is too much of a hassle. Instead, using their primate ingenuity, they have devised a fail safe plan. What are they doing?

They have started putting their hands on the middle of the screen or on one side of the screen and just stares at the chute. You see, the trials run automatically, and when they just leave their hands in that position, they either hit the correct or incorrect stimulus. As the trials cycle through, food reward will drop down at about 50% chance (at random). So, instead of paying attention to the task, the lemurs are just hoping they would by chance touch the correct stimulus. There is also one lemur that would continuously smash its hand all over the tablet non stop, hoping by chance it would hit the correct stimulus. Picture someone smashing all the buttons in an arcade machine ...


Well, one more UI update on SMARTA coming up this weekend so I can train them to correctly do the discrimination task.


Monday, August 17, 2015

It's That Story You've Been Waiting For ...

Inexplicably, every single student that went out to collect data has a "I was collecting data and I got sick" story. Well here you go. This is that story you have been waiting for from me. I got sick this weekend.

I felt a bit lethargic and immediately knew that something is wrong. As the day progresses, my temperature started to shoot up and I felt feverish. I was afraid those nasty skeeter (mosquito) bites had given me whatever disease they carried. I was also wondering if I got a sunburn and that's why my body is heating up. Blah blah blah I felt feverish over the weekend and OH MY GOD NORTH CAROLINA YOUR SUMMER IS HOTTER THAN THE SUN!

Finally my fever had subsided today after 3 days. I didn't go in to the lemur center because I was so lethargic that I couldn't wake up. Good thing my puppy was crate trained and I had mustered whatever energy I had to walk her for a few minutes in the morning before I go back to sleep. I also didn't want to pass out from the heat and humidity so I took a day off to recuperate.

I still didn't know what caused the fever. I'd like to think that I got something from these nasty skeeters but it's probably a sunburn ...

P/S - I did went out on Sunday for brunch with my friend Tara and our dog's play date. I figured if I passed out, someone is around. LOL




Wednesday, August 12, 2015

No Posts This Week; Spending Time With My Daughter Instead

Sorry, no posts this week ... sorta. I'm spending quality time with my daughter, Luna Bella Princess Vagell Cupcake. I'll be back next week when Luna goes back to her foster mama's home. In the meantime, enjoy these pictures of hers ...




Sunday, August 9, 2015

Day 5 & The Weekend

On Friday, I had a relatively short session and worked with only 3 individuals. At the end of the session, I made a conscious decision to omit one of the group in the study. This has been cumulatively about 3 months working with this group and there was no improvements. Individuals continue to ignore or growl at SMARTA, and not have the initiative to interact with the apparatus.

Over the weekend, my friend Jen brought my puppy back to me so she can spend a week with her Papa. Luna, or as she's called in her foster home, Luna Bella Princess Vagell Cupcake is about 4 months old and is a Pomeranian Chihuahua (Pomchi) mix. I have written about her a few months back on this blog and I am very grateful that my friend Jen is fostering her while I ping pong between states.

We went shopping. ALL THE DOG TREATS!!