Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Alan D. Poling

Second Advisor

Dr. Jack Michael

Third Advisor

Dr. Alyce Dickinson

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


Behavior analysis is a science that requires a consistent set of terms to describe independent and dependent variables and the relations between them. However, a review of literature indicates that behavior analysis is plagued by terminological inconsistencies, even with such basic terms as reinforcer and discriminative stimulus.

In the present study, 193 journal editorial staff members were surveyed to determine the importance of temporal contiguity in defining the terms reinforcer and discriminative stimulus. Eighty-seven editors (45%) responded to the survey which described two hypothetical scenarios and contained a series of questions relevant to each.

The results of the study indicate that there is no strong consensus among respondents about the importance of time delay in defining either a reinforcer or discriminative stimulus. The variety of responses to the questionnaire suggests disagreement exists at some level regarding these terms that are essential to behaviorism.

Included in

Psychology Commons