|This article does not cite any references (sources). (February 2012)|
A respondent is a person who is called upon to issue a response to a communication made by another. In legal usage, this specifically refers to the defendant in a legal proceeding commenced by a petition, or to an appellee, or the opposing party, in an appeal of a decision by an initial fact-finder. The two sides in a Senate impeachment trial are called the management and the respondent. In non-legal or informal usage, the term refers to one who refutes or responds to a thesis or an argument. In cross-cultural communication, the second person responding to the meaning or message from an original source which has been contextualised or decoded for the understanding of respondents as recipients or hearers of the message occurring from a different cultural context.
The term as used in psychology evokes a much faster and less thoughtful reaction. In that field, respondent conditioning is a synonym for classical conditioning/Pavlovian conditioning. Respondent behavior specifically refers to the behavior consistently elicited by a reflexive or classically conditioned stimulus.