Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




The Chinchilla (Chinchilla lanigera) has been observed to frequently roll in fine dust when it is available. It was hypothesized that such material would have strong reinforcing properties to a chinchilla which had been deprived of bathing in dust.

A straight alley runway was used with start latency and running speed to dust in the goal box as the dependent variables. Fifty-four chinchillas were randomly assigned to equal cells of a 3 by 3 matrix in which hours of deprivation and duration of reward varied. Each subject was given ten individual trials .

Results of a three-way analysis of variance indicate that the subjects significantly increased running speed over trials (p < .001), but start latencies did not differ. The main effects of the duration of reward and hours of deprivation were not significant.

The behavior was discussed in terms of Sheffield's drive-induction theory. The results indicate that the chinchilla, in contrast to the rat, can be instrumentally conditioned with dust as a reinforcer.