Friday, April 1, 2016

Slow and Steady, Get Me Ready

It's been a few weeks since my previous post. We are still working with Carme, Pyxis, Celeste, and Pandora. Next week, we will be working with a new female. Great progress with Carme. Pyxis ... not so much. Celeste and Pandora are both starting to touch the screen so it's heading to the right direction.

Carme had improved tremendously since my last post. We have been training her daily to reinforce her to correctly station in front of SMARTA and to touch the squares deliberately instead of nonchalantly putting her hands between the squares or just touching the sides of the square. We also turn off the screen for a few seconds when she touches the incorrect stimuli or when we want to extinguish a certain behavior. It seem to have helped and by early this week, Carme is less frantic when using SMARTA and very rarely is swiping her hands all around the screen. When she make an incorrect choice, sometimes she gets a bit frantic but generally a major improvement than what she used to be a few weeks back. We thought that turning the screen off and turning it back on when she's paying attention to the screen helps to teach her that when she makes a mistake, it will take a few seconds before she can try to get a craisin. Of course, you don't want to turn off the screen for too long or it would stress the animal out. We generally turn it off for less than 5 seconds unless the animal is not paying attention to the screen (eg. looking at another animal, listening to alarm calls, etc).

By the end of next week, Carme will be done with the study as she would have done enough sessions for my data collection. I have enjoyed working with her. While she was a bit challenging to work with earlier on, and that she had a lot of behaviors that we had to extinguished, she was such a fun participant.

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