Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Dr. Jack L. Michael


Response latency is measured from the onset of a stimulus to the onset of a response and is relevant to both respondent and operant control procedures. Previous research has shown response latency to be a sensitive operant dependent variable but the contribution of respondent influences was not known. The present experiment used pigeons, a two-key procedure and a two component FR schedule to study the respondent (stimulus-reinforcer) contributions to the determination of an ostensibly operant response latency. Stimuli associated with each FR component were displayed on one key (stimulus key) while responding for reinforcement was required on a second key (constant key). Components were separated by a 5 s intertrial interval. When ratios in both components were equal, response latencies to the constant key were equal. When one ratio was either increased or decreased, response latencies to the constant key were longer during the high ratio component and shorter during the low ratio component. Stimulus-key pecking occurred most often to the stimulus associated with the lower ratio.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access