Eau Claire middle school students learn about psychology with rats

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Eau Claire (WQOW) — A group of seventh graders from DeLong Middle School learned more about psychology at UW-Eau Claire Wednesday — and there were some furry critters involved.

UWEC Psychology professor, Carla Lagorio, showed the group of students how they could use rewards, in this case a little treat, to encourage a new behavior, like getting a rat to stand up next to a fake tree design in its cage.

Lagorio told News 18 this is a way the students can see firsthand that nearly any animal, even humans, can learn in the same way, based on motivation.

“It’s something that I think a lot of people are curious why, why do we do what we do, and why might we behave in certain ways,” said Lagorio. “The more that you understand about certain motivations that can make us tick, whether we’re a rat or a cockroach or a person, the better off you are at understanding your own behavioral relations.”

The behavior analysis demonstration was just one lesson the students received. They also learned about social psychology, cognitive psychology and even developmental psychology.

Samantha Wensel

Samantha Wensel

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