"The history of artifacts and technology becomes more than a cultural adjunct to …
engineering and invention. It becomes a means of understanding the elusive creative process itself…" – Henry Petroski, The Evolution of Useful Things
Welcome to The Behavioral Apparatus Virtual Museum. This site, sponsored by Aubrey Daniels International, has compiled rarely seen photographs, background information, and links to information about scientific instruments large and small that have contributed to developing our understanding of the behavior of living organisms, from invertebrates to human beings.
There are 5 rooms in this virtual museum + a catalog archive. Each room displays instruments related to a specific aspect of the study of behavior. There are rooms, that display different types of environments for the study of behavior. One of these environments is the air crib, made famous by B. F. Skinner in a 1945 Ladies Home Journal article. Another room shows instruments used to measure behavior. Yet another shows devices for dispensing consequences – reinforcers and punishers. Among the devices in this room are those used in the 1950s and 1960s for dispensing candy and cigarettes to psychiatric patients studied on closed mental hospital wards of that era.
We invite you to wander where you like in the museum. Although you can’t touch the objects, you can click on various links that will take you deeper into the history, nature, and use of many of the instruments displayed.
The museum is indebted to the Association for Psychological Science (formerly the American Physiological Society) for providing its curator, Andy Lattal, with a summer teaching grant that made possible much of the preliminary work culminating in this web site, and to Warren Street, who was instrumental in providing photographs of many of the items on display.
Please enjoy the collection and leave your comments, questions, and, especially, inquiries about donating interesting instruments that will further our understanding of how the science of behavior has been built.
Kennon A. Lattal, Ph.D.
Curator, The Behavioral Apparatus Virtual Museum