Sniffy, the Virtual Rat

Producer: CENGAGE Learning (was Thomson Learning)

This is a fun, interactive software program that simulates a wide range of learning phenomena, typically discussed in courses on the Psychology of Learning. It outputs the response measures employed by research psychologists. Sniffy, a realistic digital rat in an operant chamber (Skinner Box), gives students hands-on experience setting up and conducting experiments that demonstrate most of the major phenomena of operant and classical conditioning. Users begin by training Sniffy to press a bar to obtain food and progress to studies of complex learning phenomena. There are two versions of Sniffy, the Virtual Rat: Sniffy Lite demonstrates the most basic phenomena of operant and classical conditioning, but does not have the complexity and flexibility for advanced learning topics; Sniffy Pro is a comprehensive simulation of advanced learning phenomena, as described in detail on the website. The classical conditioning phenomena simulated by Sniffy Lite are: acquisition, extinction and spontaneous recovery. Sniffy Pro also includes: pre-exposure and effects of manipulating the intensity of the CS and US, compound conditioning, blocking, overshadowing, over-expectation effect, inhibitory conditioning, sensory preconditioning, higher-order/background conditioning, nature of the classical conditioning association (S-S or S-R). The operant conditioning phenomena that Sniffy Lite simulates include: magazine training, shaping, extinction, spontaneous recovery, primary and secondary reinforcement, and the effects of variable-interval, variable-ratio, fixed-interval, and fixed-ratio schedules. Sniffy Pro also simulates: the partial reinforcement effect; simple and complex stimulus discrimination learning; and stimulus generalisation.

** SPANISH and PORTUGUESE versions available


Year of production: 2000.

Medium: CD-ROM

System requirements: Windows 95/98/NT; Macintosh OS 7 or above; 16 MB RAM (32 MB highly recommended)

Price: US$21.95 / £14.99 (excl. VAT) (Lite Version), Sniffy the Virtual Rat Lite, Version 3.0 (with CD-ROM) - US$56.09 ; US$25.95 / £19.99 (excl. VAT) (Pro Version) Both versions include a Lab Manual

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