Higher Education

Sniffy the Virtual Rat Lite, Version 3.0, 3rd Edition

  • includes CD-ROM
  • Tom Alloway University of Toronto, Mississauga
  • Greg Wilson
  • Jeff Graham University of Toronto, Mississauga
  • ISBN-10: 1111726175  |  ISBN-13: 9781111726171
  • 160 Pages
  • Previous Editions: 2005, 2000, 1996
  • © 2012 | Published
  • College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $55.50
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Bring the theories of learning to life using SNIFFY, THE VIRTUAL RAT! Instructors praise Sniffy, a realistic digital rat in an operant chamber (Skinner Box), for his ability to give students hands-on experience in setting up and conducting experiments that demonstrate the phenomena of classical and operant conditioning. Users begin by training Sniffy to press a bar to obtain food. Then, they progress to studies of more complex learning phenomena. Throughout each, a series of "Mind Windows" enables students to visualize how Sniffy's experiences in the chamber produce the psychological changes that their textbooks discuss in connection with learning. Available on a cross-platform CD-ROM, the Lite version of Sniffy includes 23 exercises that cover the essential phenomena of learning psychology- making it equally appropriate for psychology of learning and introductory psychology courses. The CD-ROM comes with a Lab Manual that walks users through the steps necessary to set up classical and operant conditioning experiments that closely resemble the experiments discussed in learning texts. (Screen shots are included for both Macintosh® and Windows users.) The manual also includes instructions on how to print or e-mail results, so that Sniffy can become part of students' homework assignments and term papers.

Features and Benefits

  • Reorganized to match the sequence of most learning textbooks, Sniffy Lite now allows teachers to teach classical before operant conditioning. This makes it easier for teachers to assign laboratory exercises.
  • Students can now teach Sniffy to perform tricks, such as grooming his face or sitting up and begging. Students can teach Sniffy to perform the desired behavior more frequently in the presence a light or a tone so that Sniffy performs the trick on cue.
  • A new "auto reinforcement" feature aids trick training. Students select the behavior they want reinforced, and a virtual "Lab Assistant" ensures that all occurrences of the target behavior are reinforced.
  • The program now incorporates a "movement monitor" that measures Sniffy's general activity and a Movement Ratio that indicates inhibition of movement (freezing) as a measure of classical conditioning. As in previous editions, once a user has trained Sniffy to press the bar, they can employ a Suppression Ratio as a measure of classical conditioning.
  • A simulation of the effects of punishment on extinction in operant conditioning is now included. This feature simulates several classic studies described in many learning books.
  • Sniffy software generates a digital cumulative record, which will improve students' and professors' ability to export numeric data.
  • The manual includes clear, user-friendly printing instructions to enable users to print data and graphs.
  • Sniffy now includes a "pause" feature so the student can take a break and pick it up when they come back, rather than having to start over.
  • Sniffy is a highly realistic, animated rat in a Skinner Box. He can be conditioned to perform tasks and tricks through classical and operant conditioning. Sniffy can be trained to press a bar or perform a variety of other behaviors to obtain food reinforcement.
  • Students perform "classic" experiments that closely resemble those discussed in standard introductory psychology textbooks and textbooks on the psychology of learning. Using Sniffy Lite, students can perform exercises that demonstrate elementary phenomena of classical and operant conditioning.
  • Detailed documentation and step-by-step instructions make the program accessible even to unsophisticated computer users. All exercises in the manual are illustrated with dialogue boxes and windows from the most recent versions of the Macintosh and Windows operating systems available at the time of Sniffy's publication.
  • Classical conditioning phenomena simulated include acquisition, extinction, and spontaneous recovery.
  • Some of the operant conditioning phenomena that Sniffy Lite simulates include magazine training; shaping; extinction; spontaneous recovery; primary and secondary reinforcement; variable-interval, variable-ratio, fixed-interval, and fixed-ratio schedule effects; and the partial-reinforcement effect.
  • The program outputs the response measures employed by research psychologists in a data form that can be printed and turned in for class assignments. A one-step process enables the user to copy the image of a Sniffy Lite data window and paste it into a word-processor document (such as MS Word). This feature makes it easy for students to incorporate Sniffy data in lab reports and term papers.
  • Sniffy Lite data can also be exported in a form that most spreadsheet and statistical-analysis programs can read. This feature enables advanced students to perform sophisticated data analyses and draw elaborate graphs. Sniffy Lite files are cross-platform (may be opened on either Windows or Macintosh systems).
  • The program's "Isolation" option allows users either to display Sniffy in his operant chamber where they can observe all his movements in real time, or to "isolate" Sniffy's Skinner Box inside a soundproof air-conditioned chamber where Sniffy is invisible. Isolating Sniffy greatly accelerates the speed in which the user's computer can execute experiments.
  • A series of "Mind Windows" shows students how Sniffy's experiences in the operant chamber produce the psychological changes that their textbooks discuss in connection with the phenomena being simulated. When students can observe how events in the operant chamber produce changes in Sniffy's psychological processes, how changes in the psychological processes cause changes in Sniffy's overt behavior, and how changes in overt behavior are reflected in the behavioral measurements that psychologists employ in their laboratories, they gain a much more thorough understanding of the learning process.
  • Minimum System Requirements: PC: Windows 98 SE, ME, 2000, or XP (not NT); Pentium II 233 MHz; 128 MB RAM; 16-bit sound card, 800x600, 16-bit High Color display; speakers or headphones; 8x CD-ROM. Macintosh: MAC OS 8.6 or later; PowerPC Processor or later;128 MB RAM; 16-bit sound card; 800x600, 16-bit High Color display; speakers or headphones; 8x CD-ROM.

Table of Contents

Preface Installing Sniffy Lite.
1. Introduction to Sniffy.
2. Introduction to Classical Conditioning.
3. Phenomena of Classical Conditioning: Acquisition, Extinction, and Spontaneous Recovery.
4. Introduction to Operant Conditioning.
5. Basic Operant Phenomena: Magazine Training, Shaping, Extinction, Spontaneous Recovery, and Secondary Reinforcement.
6. Schedules of Reinforcement and the Partial-Reinforcement Effect.
7. Shaping Behaviors Other than Bar Pressing.

What's New

  • New--Behavior frequency recording. Record the frequency with which Sniffy performs each of his twenty-two behaviors, users can see how training Sniffy to perform his "tricks" affects the frequencies with which he performs his behaviors, allowing for new observations of how maintaining Sniffy's operantly conditioned behaviors on different schedules of reinforcement affects the frequency of behaviors that are never reinforced.
  • Monitoring adjunctive behavior. Users can now demonstrate that reinforcing bar pressing on interval schedules of reinforcement produces "adjunctive behaviors," behaviors whose frequency is increased as a side effect of reinforcing another behavior on an interval schedule. When Sniffy's bar pressing is reinforced with food on an interval schedule, he drinks more often even though he is never reinforced for drinking (and he is not water deprived). Such increased drinking is called "schedule-induced polydipsia" and is the form of adjunctive behavior that psychologists have studied most extensively with real rats.
  • Increased usability. New user features include a redesigned and improved classical conditioning dialog box, more expandable windows, ease of multiple test case generation, ability to control sound-proofing level, automated "Isolate" mode option, and improved data export. Students' reinforcement actions will also be marked on the cumulative recorder to help cut down on student copying.

Learning Resource Bundles

Choose the textbook packaged with the resources that best meet your course and student needs. Contact your Learning Consultant for more information.

Bundle: Behavior Modification: Principles and Procedures, 5th + Sniffy the Virtual Rat Lite, Version 3.0 (with CD-ROM)

ISBN-10: 1133156495  | ISBN-13: 9781133156499

List Price = $348.95  | College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $262.50

This Bundle Includes:

  • Behavior Modification: Principles and Procedures
    List Price = $275.95  | College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $207.00
  • Sniffy the Virtual Rat Lite, Version 3.0
    List Price = $73.95  | CengageBrain Price = $73.95  | College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $55.50

Bundle: Biological Psychology, 10th + The Essentials of Learning and Conditioning, 3rd + Sniffy the Virtual Rat Lite, Version 3.0 (with CD-ROM)

ISBN-10:  113326770X  | ISBN-13:  9781133267706

List Price = $408.95  | College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $302.75

This Bundle Includes:

  • The Essentials of Learning and Conditioning
    List Price = $108.95  | College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $81.75
  • Sniffy the Virtual Rat Lite, Version 3.0
    List Price = $73.95  | CengageBrain Price = $73.95  | College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $55.50

Bundle: Learning and Behavior: Active Learning Edition, 6th + Sniffy the Virtual Rat Lite, Version 3.0 (with CD-ROM)

ISBN-10:  113330396X  | ISBN-13:  9781133303961

List Price = $361.95  | CengageBrain Price = $361.95  | College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $272.25

This Bundle Includes:

  • Learning and Behavior: Active Learning Edition
    List Price = $288.95  | CengageBrain Price = $288.95  | College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $216.75
  • Sniffy the Virtual Rat Lite, Version 3.0
    List Price = $73.95  | CengageBrain Price = $73.95  | College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $55.50

Bundle: Sniffy the Virtual Rat Lite, Version 3.0 (with CD-ROM) + CogLab Online Version 2.0 (with Printed Access Card), 4th

ISBN-10:  1285157877 | ISBN-13:  9781285157870

List Price = $93.95  | College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $70.50

This Bundle Includes:

  • Sniffy the Virtual Rat Lite, Version 3.0
    List Price = $73.95  | CengageBrain Price = $73.95  | College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $55.50
  • CogLab Online Version 2.0
    List Price = $60.95  | College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $43.50


All supplements have been updated in coordination with the main title. Select the main title's "About" tab, then select "What's New" for updates specific to title's edition.

For more information about these supplements, or to obtain them, contact your Learning Consultant.

Instructor Supplements

CD-ROM  (ISBN-10: 1111726191 | ISBN-13: 9781111726195)

Student Supplements

CD-ROM  (ISBN-10: 1111726191 | ISBN-13: 9781111726195)

List Price = $88.95  | College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $66.25

Meet the Author

Author Bio

Tom Alloway

Tom Alloway was trained by Winifred Hill at Northwestern University and is an expert in animal behavior, specifically ants, as well as operant and classical conditioning. He's the former chair at UT-Mississauga.

Greg Wilson

Greg Wilson runs his own software company and created the first version of Sniffy over 10 years ago.

Jeff Graham

Jeff Graham was trained in cognitive psychology and neural network models of memory. He teaches the computer component of introductory psychology at University of Toronto at Mississauga with over 1500 students per year.