IB Schedules of Reinforcement - Alan Feldman

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Reinforcement – any stimulus that makes a behavior more likely to occur. In terms of
delivering reinforcement one may:
1. Vary the frequency of the reward strictly according to time intervals. These are called
interval schedules – the number of responses which occur, after the first correct
response in an interval, are irrelevant.
2. Vary the frequency of the reward according to the rate of response. These are called
ratio schedules – time is irrelevant.
Within these 2 types of schedules a reward is given on either:
A. A regular basis, called a fixed schedule or
B. On an intermittent (random / pattern less) manner called a variable schedule;
the reward according to the rate of response. These are called ratio schedules – time is
irrelevant.
1)
2)
3)
4)
Combine these to define the schedules listed below:
Fixed-interval schedule
Variable-interval schedule
Fixed-ratio schedule
Variable-ration schedule
To determine the schedule of reinforcement being used, ask yourself: Is time the major
factor that causes a favorable outcome (reinforcement) or is it repetition of responses?
If time or the needed repetition of responses is constant or patterned, it is fixed; if the
time or repetition of responses is random or intermittent, it is variable.
Write fixed interval (FI), fixed-ratio (FR), variable interval (VI), or variable ratio (VR) for
each example.
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Ask yourself:
Who is being rewarded?
What is the reward?
Remember you are defining reinforcement not punishment.
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Answer
1
Paid 10 dollars for every 20 puzzles solved
VR
2
Studying for a class that has surprise quizzes
FR
3
Slot machines are based on this schedule
VI
4
Trolling for fish in a lake in the summer
FI
5
Speed traps on highways
VR
6
Selling a product door to door
VR
7
Getting the clothes out of the dryer once it buzzes
FI
8
Going up a staircase to reach a landing with a nice view
FR
9
Doing 20 pushups to help stay fit
VI
10
Playing Bingo
VR
11
Getting a paycheck at the end of 2 weeks
FI
12
Random drug testing
VI
13
A strike in bowling
VR
14
Calling your mechanic to see if your car is fixed yet
FR
15
Frequent flyer program where one gets a free flight after a specific number
of miles flown
FR
16
Child screams and cries in store to get what he wants, every so often it
works
VR
17
Child who likes to hear theme music from Jeopardy every night at 7PM
FI
18
Trying to find a parking spot in Metropolis with a meter that works
VR
19
Wife is watching boxing match with husband – she receives a kiss at the of
every 3-minute round
FI
20
Waiting for a sunny day to go the beach
FR
21
Surfer waiting for the perfect wave to ride in on
VI
22
Looking under rocks for worms
VR
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