Cohen PS, Block M. Replacement of laboratory animals in an introductory psychology laboratory. Humane Innovations and Alternatives.1991;5:221-225


The authors describe how they have addressed student and their concerns about the use of laboratory animals in an introductory-level psychology laboratory course on "learning. " They describe a course in which field experiments with free-ranging feral pigeons found in a local park replace traditional laboratory animals studies. Using a specially designed, low-cost pigeon feeder and colored bottle caps as stimuli, students teach pigeons to return to a study site for daily conditioning sessions. During sessions, students explore the same phenomena and principles covered in the traditional laboratory course: shaping, reinforcement schedules and extinction, spontaneous recovery, discrimination learning, chaining, conditioned reinforcement, autoshaping and adjunctive behavior.