The Behavior Analyst

, Volume 37, Issue 2, pp 95–107 | Cite as

Nu-Way Snaps and Snap Leads: an Important Connection in the History of Behavior Analysis

Original Research
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Abstract

Beginning in the early 1950s, the snap lead became an integral and ubiquitous component of the programming of electromechanical modules used in behavioral experiments. It was composed of a Nu-Way snap connector on either end of a colored electrical wire. Snap leads were used to connect the modules to one another, thereby creating the programs that controlled contingencies, arranged reinforcers, and recorded behavior in laboratory experiments. These snap leads populated operant conditioning laboratories from their inception until the turn of the twenty-first century. They allowed quick and flexible programming because of the ease with which they could be connected, stacked, and removed. Thus, the snap lead was integral to the research activity that constituted the experimental analysis of behavior for more than five decades. This review traces the history of the snap lead from the origins of the snap connector in Birmingham, England, in the late eighteenth century, through the use of snaps connected to wires during the Second World War, to its adoption in operant laboratories, and finally to its demise in the digital age.

Keywords

Nu-Way snap Snap lead Newey Brothers Snap fastener Snap connector Relay rack Electromechanical modules 

Notes

Acknowledgments

The authors are grateful to Lewis Gollub and to A. Charles Catania for providing us with valuable information about the snap leads. We thank Tom Barnes from the Carnegie Library in Pittsburgh, PA, for his invaluable help and patience in searching for documental sources and Dina Kellams, from Indiana University Office of University Archives and Records, and Catherine Morse, from the Harlan Hatcher Graduate Library in the University of Michigan, for providing us with valuable information.

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Copyright information

© Association for Behavior Analysis International 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of PsychologyNational Autonomous University of MexicoMéxicoMéxico
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyWest Virginia UniversityMorgantownUSA

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