PSYC 2330 Chapter Notes - Chapter 6: Hand Washing, Washing Machine, Elevator

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Ch. 6 Schedules of Reinforcement and Choice Behaviour
- Casual reflection suggests that such a perfect contingency b/w response and reinforcement is rare
in the real world (Ex. do not get a high grade on a test every time you study)
Schedule of reinforcement - is a program/rule that determines how and when the occurrence of a response
will be followed by the delivery of the reinforcer
- Delivery of a reinforce could depend on the occurrence of a certain number of responses, passage
of time presence of a certain stimuli, occurance of other responses, or any number or combination
of other factors
- Reinforcement schedules that involve similar relations between responses and reinforcers usually
produce similar patterns of behaviour
This makes patterns of behaviour predictable
It influences how an instrumental response is learned and how it is then maintained by
Schedule effects are relevant to the motivation of behavior (ex. motivate more studying
Usually conduted using a Skinner box that has a clearly defined response that can occur
repeatedly, so that changes in the rate of responding can be readily observed
Simple Schedules of Intermittent Reinforcement
- In simple schedules, a single factor determines which occurrence of the instrumental response is
Ratio Schedules
Ratio Schedules - a reinforcement schedule in which reinforcement depends on the number of responses
the participant performs, regardless of when those responses occur
It requires merely counting the number of responses that have occurred and delivering the
reinforcer each time the required number is reached
Continuous Reinforcement - a schedule of reinforcement in which every occurrence of the instrumental
response produces the reinforcer (ex. treatment programs for drug abusers)
Clients are tested on whether they have used drugs since their last visit and if its clear they
receive a voucher, which can be exchanged for money
The amount given is increased with each successive drug-free visit & resets to zero if patient
- Examples in reality (must have direct causal link b/w the instrumental response and the outcome)
Continuous reinforcement is not so common outside the lab
Pushing an elevator button, may not always bring the elevator, especially if its
Intermittent/Partial Reinforcement - a schedule of reinforcement in which only some of the occurrences of
the instrumental response are reinforced
The instrumental response is reinforced occasionally
Following are examples:
A) Fixed-Ratio Schedule
Fixed-Ratio Schedule (FR) - a schedule of reinforcement in which a fixed number of responses must
occur in order for the next response to be reinforced
Example: making a phone call in which you have to press a fixed number of digits to make the
call (FR10 10 digits in a number normally)
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