The purpose of this exercise is to show the steps involved in classical conditioning of earthworms with a CS of rose oil followed by a US of butanol . For detailed instructions see Abramson et al. Classical-conditioning demonstrations for elementary and advanced courses (Teaching of Psychology, 23, 26-30).

Questions about this experiment can be addressed to:

Dr. Charles I. Abramson
116 N. Murray
Stillwater, OK 74078
(405) 744-7492
via E-Mail:

Classically Conditioning Earthworms

Worm apparatus. To condition worms you will need a conditioning tray, paper towel, butanol, rose oil, dechlorinated water, CS syringe, US syringe, and gloves.

To begin, cut the paper towel in the shape of the conditioning tray.

Moisten paper towel with dechlorinated water and place in conditioning tray. This is necessary to keep the worm moist during conditioning.

Remove the earthworm from its container and using gloves wash the worm with dechlorinated water. The gloves are necessary when handling the worm because of impurities on the hands of the experimenter.

Expose earthworm to a CS of rose oil closely followed by a US of butanol. The CS-US interval should be as short as possible (approx.1-2 seconds). The intertrial interval is 1 minute.

Unconditioned response, worm will retract when exposed to butanol.

Conditioned response to rose oil.

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