The effect of lever height on the microstructure of operant behavior

Ángel Andrés Jiménez, Federico Sanabria, Felipe Cabrera

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


The effect of lever height on the temporal organization of reinforced lever pressing was examined. Lever pressing was reinforced on a variable-interval 30-s schedule in rats, with lever height manipulated across six successive conditions. Parameters of the organization of responses in bouts (bout length distribution, bout-initiation rate, within-bout rate, and sequential dependency) were estimated. These estimates revealed (1) a qualitative change in the distribution of IRTs and their sequential dependency when the lever was too high, (2) a mixture of geometrically-distributed bout lengths at all lever heights, and (3) longer bouts at lower and intermediate lever heights. In accordance with previous data, these findings suggest that lower and intermediate lever heights favored lever pressing with longer bout lengths, faster bout initiation, faster within-bout responding, and more sequentially dependent timing. These results underscore the disociability of motoric capacity in operant performance, and may reflect the influence of the body size on the temporal organization of the operant.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)181-189
Number of pages9
JournalBehavioural processes
StatePublished - Jul 2017


  • Affordance
  • BERM
  • Bout length
  • Lever height
  • Lever press
  • Modeling
  • Rats
  • Variable-interval schedule

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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