Operant Wall

Operant Conditioning In The Home Cage


  • Automated operant conditioning experiments within the animal’s home cage
  • Various stimuli, responses and reinforcement elements ensure customized experimental designs
  • Long-term self-motivated learning across light-dark cycle
  • Circadian performance analysis
  • Minimal human interference (reduces experimenter workload and minimizes animal stress)
  • Fast habituation within the home cage (no cage transfer/reduces task duration)
  • Can be used in combination with other Phenomaster modules (automated food/liquid restriction, wheel running as reward or response element, automated compound infusion, neural recordings or optogenetics)


The TSE Systems PhenoMaster features the only home cage integrated operant wall permitting fully automated operant conditioning experiments without the additional stress of transferring the animal to a separate test cage. Leaving the animal in the home cage has many advantages: it allows long-term experiments with more trials per animal, it facilitates performance monitoring across light/dark phases, it leads to faster habituation and learning (compared to the conventional Skinner box) it reduces experiment setup time and saves laboratory space.

Different hardware modules such as levers, nose poke units and pellet or liquid dispensers can be integrated and combined to meet the requirements of individual operant behavioral tasks. Interactive operations with other home cage modules, such as the food Access Control Unit (for automated food deprivation as a prerequisite for pellet rewarding operant procedures) or the operant Voluntary Running Wheel module allow enormous flexibility.


Recommended reading:

Cansell et al., Molecular Psychiatry, 2014 Dietary triglycerides act on mesolimbic structures to regulate the rewarding and motivational aspects of feeding.

The group of Serge Luquet (PhD) in Paris used fully automated operant walls integrated into 12 PhenoMaster home cages to assess motivational aspects of feeding behavior employing a progressive ratio schedule. PhenoMaster home cages were additionally equipped for simultaneous monitoring of feeding & drinking behavior and locomotor activity. A Swivel Port allowed compound infusion in freely moving animals.