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Goldfish Learning Laboratory: An Unconventional Approach to Teaching Psychology of Learning
Since Fall 2017, the Psychology Department at Monmouth University has used an unconventional live animal model –goldfish – as an active learning tool to teach students hands on about various principles of psychology. In this open classroom session, attendees will be able to view an oral presentation and corresponding live animal demonstrations on topics relating to Pavlovian and operant conditioning, choice and preference, memory, cognition, and welfare. Attendees will also be able to view a poster in the room that displayed data collected by students in previous semesters during the goldfish labs. Protocols and lesson plans will be provided to attendees as well. During the course, students are required to demonstrate knowledge of species-typical behavior and husbandry care of goldfish before working with goldfish directly. Next, students observe naturalistic goldfish behavior and create operational definitions in preparation for collecting data on different training paradigms. Overall, this session will showcase how a wide range of basic and applied learning concepts can be taught through an active learning approach with live animals. These types of procedures are not limited to just goldfish; they are also applicable to human behavior as well.