A novel food-delivery device for neurophysiological and neuropsychological studies in monkeys.


Journal Article

Neurophysiological and neuropsychological studies in monkeys sometimes require an automated food-pellet dispenser. Commercially available dispensers typically sequester the pellet until delivery and, once delivered, the pellet's availability cannot be controlled. The custom-designed dispenser described here overcomes those two limitations. The device is composed of two separate units: a feeder and an electronic controller. The feeder manipulates food pellets with actuators driven by air pressure and delivers them into a serving bowl. The controller's settings determine whether the monkey can retrieve a pellet from the bowl. If the experiment requires that the pellet be visible and within reach, but unavailable for retrieval, the controller enables a trap-door mechanism at the bottom of the bowl. Any motion near the serving bowl, such as that caused by the approach of a monkey's hand, will then trigger the opening of the trap door, which causes the pellet to fall into an enclosed pellet collector. This rapid pellet-removal mechanism can also be triggered by other computer-controlled contingencies. Two of these dispensers have been in operation in an applied laboratory setting for over 2 years.

Full Text

Cited Authors

  • Mitz, AR; Boring, SA; Wise, SP; Lebedev, MA

Published Date

  • August 2001

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 109 / 2

Start / End Page

  • 129 - 135

PubMed ID

  • 11513947

Pubmed Central ID

  • 11513947

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1872-678X

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0165-0270

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/s0165-0270(01)00406-x


  • eng