An affordance analysis of unconditioned lever pressing in rats and hamsters

Felipe Cabrera, Federico Sanabria, Ángel Andrés Jiménez, Pablo Covarrubias

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Two experiments were conducted to assess the effect of lever height on lever pressing that was not explicitly reinforced - i.e., operant-level responding. Two rodent species were used as subjects, rats (Experiment 1) and hamsters (Experiment 2), aiming to compare the behavioral support offered by one lever at various heights relative to the subjects' body size. Results showed that lever height had a substantial effect on response rate. The rate of lever pressing varied similarly for rats and hamsters as a function of lever height, when lever height was re-scaled relative to body size. The distribution of inter-response times showed that lever pressing was organized in bouts separated by pauses. This pattern of responding was accurately described in both experiments by a mixture of two exponential distributions. These findings support an analysis of affordances in non-human species.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)36-46
Number of pages11
JournalBehavioural processes
StatePublished - Jan 2013


  • Affordances
  • Behavioral support
  • Hamsters
  • Lever height
  • Lever pressing
  • Operant level
  • Rats

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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