Belmont University Research Symposium (BURS)

Publication Date

Spring 2023


Sciences and Mathematics, College of


Psychological Science, Department of

BURS Faculty Advisor

Timothy Schoenfeld, Ph.D.

Presentation Type

Poster Presentation


Home environment has an everlasting effect on one’s ability to learn, grow, and attain one’s goals. This study seeks to investigate the extent to which an enriched home environment has an impact on one’s level of motivation. A research gap exists in how significant the enrichment of a rodent’s home environment is to a rodent’s level of motivation. The current study is designed to address the conflicting information and see if including nesting and gnawing material in the rats’ home environments will have any impact on their motivation to push the lever a multitude of times in the operant chamber to receive reward. For the first two weeks, rats are tested in operant chambers learning how to associate lever presses with food pellets. As the rats habituate to the chambers, the amount of work needed to earn a reward gradually increases. The second two weeks, the rats are housed in three different home environments: a neutral environment (wooden shavings), and two separate enriched environments in the form of gnawing (wooden blocks) and nesting materials (toilet paper) in addition to the wooden shavings. We predict that rats who have enriched home environments will be less food motivated and have less lever presses within the operant chamber compared to when in the neutral environment.