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ch 6_


Department
Psychology
Course Code
PSYB45H3
Professor
Zachariah Campbell

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CH 6: DEVELOPING BEHAVIORAL PERSISTENCE
THROUGH THE USE OF INTERMITTENT
REINFORCEMENT
Some definitions
Intermittent reinforcement refers to the maintenance of a behavior by
reinforcing it only occasionally rather than every time it occurs
Schedule reinforcement is a rule specifying which occurrences of a given
behavior if any will be reinforced
Continuous reinforcement (crf) is the simplest schedule of reinforcement
The opposite of continuous reinforcement is called extinction. On extinction
schedule no instance of a given behavior is reinforced.
b/w these 2 extremes- continuous reinforcement & extinction lies intermittent
reinforcement
intermittent reinforcement schedule is any rule specifying a procedure for
occasionally reinforcing a behavior
there are unlimited # of such schedules
while a behavior is begin learned it is said to be in the acquisition phase
after it has become well learned it is said to be in the maintenance phase
it’s desirable to provide continuous reinforcement during acquisition & then
switch to intermittent reinforcement during maintenance
intermittent schedules have several advantages over continuous reinforcement
for maintenance behavior:
a)reinforcers remains effective longer cuz satiation takes place more slowly
b)behavior that has been reinforced intermittently tends to take longer to
extinguish
c)individuals work more consistently on certain intermittent schedules
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d)behavior that has been reinforced intermittently is more likely to persist
after begin transferred to reinforcers in the natural env’t
4 types of intermittent schedules for increasing & maintaining behavior: ratio,
simple interval, interval with limited hold, & duration.
Each of these is subdivided into fixed & variable giving eight basic schedules
Free-operant procedure is one in which the individual is free to respond
repeatedly in the sense that there are no constraints on successive responses
Discrete-trails procedure a distinct stimulus is presented prior to opportunities
for a response to occur & to be followed by reinforcement
In discrete-trails procedure the rate of responding is limited to the rate at which
successive stimuli at the beginning of each trial are presented.
Ratio Schedules
In fixed-ratio (FR) schedules reinforcement occurs each time a set # of responses
of a particular type are emitted
Deterioration of responding from increasing FR schedule too rapidly is
sometimes referred to as ratio strain
Optimal response requirement differs for different individual & for different
tasks
Optimal ratio value that will maintain a high rate of response without producing
ratio strain must be found by trail & error
FR schedules when introduced gradually produce a high steady rate until
reinforcement followed by a postreinforcement pause
Length of the postreinforcement pause depends on the value of the FR- higher
the value the longer the pause
FR schedules also produce high resistance to extinction
♦Ex: when a coach say to the team β€œeverybody do 20 push-ups before
taking a break” that would be an FR 20
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In variable-ratio (VR) schedule the # of responses required to produce
reinforcement changes unpredictably form one reinforcement to the next
The # of response required for each reinforcement in VR schedule varies around
some mean value, & this value is specified in the designation of that particular
VR schedule
3 additional difference b/w the effect of VR & FR schedules are that;
 VR schedule can be increased somewhat more abruptly than FR schedule
without producing ratio strain
Values of VR that can maintain responding are somewhat higher than FR
 VR produces a higher resistance to extinction than FR schedules of the
same value
♦Ex: asking someone for a date cuz ppl often have ask unpredictable
# of different ppl to obtain an acceptance
Ratio schedules have also been used when one wants to generate a high rate of
responding & can monitor each response
FR is more commonly used than VR in behavioral programs cuz it is simpler to
administer
Ratio schedule does not require too many correct response per reinforcement
As the response requirement increase performance improves at first but then
begins to shows ratio strain
Simple interval schedules
In fixed-interval (FI) schedule the 1st response after a fixed period of time
following the pervious reinforcement is reinforced & a new interval begins
The size of the FI schedule is the amount of time that must elapse before
reinforcement becomes available
There is no limit on how long after the end of the interval a response can occur
in order to be reinforced
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