MHR 405 Study Guide - Midterm Guide: Reinforcement, Expectancy Theory
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If you memorized our textbook by tomorrow night, i'll give you a million dollar. Would you be motivated? Explain
why by applying each element of Expectancy theory. Please apply each of the 3 elements of this theory to this
situation. For example, would E > P be high, med or low....and why. etc.
E > P = low or 0.0 % chance [this element can be quantified; no matter how much effort I put in, I will not be
able to complete this task to standard.
P > O = low or 0.0 % chance; even if I did complete this task to standard, I don't believe George has a million
dollars to give me.
Valance = very high, close to 1.0 [100 % chance]; everyone values a million dollars
remember valance can be quantified from -1 to +1
E >P and P>O quantified from 0 to 1.0
Please remember that each element of Exp Theory is a belief or probability statement; and don't forget to
include the actually probability level: 0 = no chance; 1.0 = perfect chance and 0.8 = high probability
Schedule of reinforcement [R+ = positive reinforcement]
Variable Interval – receive R+ after average amount of time, exact time varies
Variable Ratio – receive R+ after average # of correct responses, exact # varies
Fixed Interval – receive R+ for correct behavior after fixed time period has elapsed
Fixed Ratio – receive R+ given # of correct responses
1) you receive a bonus for every 10 vacuum cleaners sold. what schedule?
ANS: Fixed Ratio – receive R+ [bonus] after given # of correct responses [10th vaccuum cleaner sold]
2) paycheck every 2 weeks. What schedule?
ANS: Fixed Interval – receive R+ for correct behavior after fixed time period has elapsed
3) playing the slot machines. What schedule?
ANS: Variable Ratio – receive R+ after average # of correct responses, exact # varies. It results in continuous,
4) Teacher giving pop [surprise] quizzes. What schedule is this?
ANS: Variable Interval – receive R+ after average amount of time, exact time varies; results in a fairly steady
Variable Interval is a very powerful type of reinforcement schedule. Imagine if we had 8 surprise
quizzes instead of a pre-scheduled midterm; the surprise quizzes would be on a Friday, but you wouldn't know
exactly which Friday it would be on; would this schedule increase your studying behaviour?
A large manufacturer of Internet hardware wants to hire an executive who will help develop the firm's marketing
division. This executive must be a 'team player' by working with other executives. The successful candidate will
also delegate more responsibility to the marketing professionals, but is responsible for making tough decisions
regarding allocation of limited budgets. Identify the level [high, medium or low] of need for achievement,
affiliation, and socialized and personalized power that the ideal candidate would have for this position. Take
about 5 minutes and wait for my prompt….
ANS: Need for achievement (nAch). This is a learned need that causes people to want to accomplish
reasonably challenging goals through their own efforts. The textbook indicates that people with a high nAch
prefer working alone rather than in teams. The position in this question calls for someone who is a team player,
so the person should have somewhat lower nAch because they must delegate work and build support through
involvement. This does not mean that nAch should be low. Rather, it should not be extremely high (as found in
entrepreneurs). nAch should be medium.
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