Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Jack L. Michael

Second Advisor

Dr. M. Kay Malott

Third Advisor

Dr. R. Wayne Fuqua

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


Skinner has suggested that latency does not vary in an orderly manner and short latencies result from the development of effective waiting behavior not specified by the experimental contingencies. Recent experimentation has found latency to vary as a function of a within-session difference in parameters of reinforcement correlated with two components of a discrete-trial multiple schedule. Also found was the attenuation of within-session differences in latencies with the change in intertrial interval (ITI) from 5 seconds to 20 seconds. This suggests that the ITI may be variable which controls latency. This study investigated the effect on latency of within-session differences in ITI, ITI training histories, ITI cue conditions, and manipulations in the ratio requirement. The results suggest that latency may vary as a function of superstitious ITI response patterns which determine the subject's position at the moment of stimulus onset. Superstitious response patterns varied as a function of changes in the independent variables. A reaction time procedure is recommended to avoid the effects of superstitious behavior on latency.