From Relays to Microcontrollers: The Adoption of Technology in Operant Research

Rogelio Escobar


 Adoption of exogenous technology for the automated arrangement of contingencies has accompanied and shaped the development of the experimental analysis of behavior. During the early days, motors and electromechanical relays were used for controlling and recording experimental events. As it became available, solid-state equipment began to replace electromechanical relays between the 1960s and 1970s. About the same time, the advent of minicomputers and personal computers, resulted in interfaces, and state-notation programming languages designed for simplifying the daily work of operant researchers. During recent years, new technology involving low-cost microcontroller input-output boards, and a variety of analog and digital sensors has become available worldwide. These boards could help developing new lines of research and disseminating behavior analysis around the world.


operant research, relay racks, solid-state equipment, minicomputers, microcomputers, microcontrollers

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Editor in Chief:

Dr. Carlos J. Flores-Aguirre

ISSN: 0185-4534

ISSN Electrónico: 2007-0802