Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Wallace, Douglas G.

Degree Name

M.A. (Master of Arts)

Legacy Department

Department of Psychology


Neurosciences; Behaviorism (Psychology)


Time perception is one of the most influential cognitive capacities shared across animal species. Interval timing, occurring in the range of seconds to minutes, dictates actions to events experienced in the environment. Operant conditioning techniques have traditionally been used to assess interval timing which relies heavily on extensive training. There may be alternative techniques to investigate processing of temporal information, including exploring the organization of animal's repertoire of spontaneously occurring behaviors. String-pulling behavior in rats may be an alternative way to provide a novel approach to investigate time perception in rodents. The current set of studies evaluates the effects of manipulating temporal and motivational factors on the organization of string-pulling behavior. The first study revealed that short and long strings elicited different behavioral responses during string-pulling behavior. The second study demonstrated that high and low reinforcement rates differentially influenced the organization of string-pulling behavior. The third study provided evidence that string odor/length pairing elicited an odor discrimination. The results of this work provide a basis for string-pulling behavior as a novel behavioral assessment of interval timing.


Advisors: Douglas Wallace.||Committee members: Angela Grippo; Leslie Matuszewich.||Includes illustrations.||Includes bibliographical references.


84 pages




Northern Illinois University

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