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Chapter 6

Chapte 6


Department
Psychology
Course Code
PSYB45H3
Professor
Zachariah Campbell
Chapter
6

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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
its 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 envt
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 everybody 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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