Measures of response latency are a primary tool for those who investigate escape responding in rats. Unfortunately, the single term "latency to escape" has been applied to several different measures of latency. The present study was designed to demonstrate that two different measures of the "latency to escape" tap different aspects of escape responding. To that end, rats were given escape training using a Sidman Avoidance Schedule with brief inescapable electric shock as the aversive stimulus. The latency to escape the shock-shock interval, as measured from the onset of the last shock in a shock period, did not change across trials. However, the latency to escape the shock period, as measured from the onset of the first shock in a shock period, decreased across trials. In addition, the presentation of a feedback stimulus contingent upon escape responding did not affect the latency to escape either the shock period or a shock-shock interval. The results show that these two latency measures, typically not recognized as unique, measure different characteristics of the strength of escape responding in a shuttlebox. Alternative accounts of this pattern of data were considered.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health(social science)
- Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Developmental and Educational Psychology