Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Jack L. Michael

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


Previous studies have shown response latency to be a sensitive measure of die effects of many experimental manipulations. However, when key pecking is the required response topography, it is difficult to ascertain whether latency is exclusively due to the effects of the independent variable or is confounded by respondent influences. The present study attempts to separate operant from respondent influences on response latency by requiring a response topography that is unlikely to have respondent components. Three pigeons responded under a multiple fixed-rado fixed-ratio schedule of food delivery with a 5 s intertrial interval separating trials. For two subjects, the independent variable consisted of the number of responses required in each component. For the third subject, the probability of reinforcement associated with each component constituted the independent variable. In general, response latencies were found to be shorter to the stimulus associated with the smaller response requirement or greater probability of reinforcement. However, unlike previous studies, these results were obtained only after quite large differences between response requirements or reinforcement probability were arranged.