心理学家BF Skinner将一只饥饿的老鼠放在装有杠杆的盒子里。当老鼠在盒子周围移动时，它偶尔会按下杠杆，因此发现当按下杠杆时食物会掉落。过了一段时间后，当大鼠被放入盒子里时，老鼠开始直奔杠杆，这表明老鼠已经发现杠杆意味着食物。在类似的实验中，将大鼠置于带有电气化地板的Skinner盒内，导致大鼠不适。老鼠发现按下杠杆可以停止电流。一段时间后，老鼠发现杠杆意味着它将不再受电流影响，并且当大鼠放入盒子内时，老鼠开始直接朝杠杆方向跑。 Skinner盒实验证明了操作性调节，其中动物或人通过将其与后果（例如，丢弃食物颗粒或停止电流）相关联来学习行为（例如，按压杠杆）。
Psychologist BF Skinner placed a hungry mouse in a box with a lever. When the mouse moves around the box, it occasionally pushes the lever, so it is found that the food will fall when the lever is pressed. After a while, when the rat was placed in the box, the mouse began to go straight to the lever, indicating that the mouse had found that the lever meant food. In a similar experiment, rats were placed in a Skinner box with an electrified floor, causing discomfort in the rat. The mouse found that pressing the lever stopped the current. After a while, the mouse found that the lever meant it would no longer be affected by the current, and when the rat was placed in the box, the mouse began to run directly in the direction of the lever. Skinner box experiments demonstrate operative regulation in which an animal or person learns behavior (eg, pressing a lever) by associating it with consequences (eg, discarding food particles or stopping current).