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Chapter 6

Chapter 6 – Schedules of Reinforcement and Choice Behaviour.docx

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Anneke Olthof

Chapter 6Schedules of Reinforcement and Choice BehaviourSchedule of reinforcementprogram or rule that determines which occurrence of a response is followed by the reinforcer oDelivery of the reinforcer could depend on the occurrence of a certain number of responses passage of time presence of certain stimuli occurrence of other responses or any number of factors oApplications of reinforcement principles typically have a behavioural goalAchieving that goal often requires adjusting the schedule of reinforcement to produce the desired outcomeoSchedules of reinforcement influence both how an instrumental response is learned and how it is then maintained by reinforcementConcerned the maintenance of behaviour Highly relevant to the motivation of behaviorAlso provide useful baselines for the study of other behavioural processesoConducted 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 observered and analyzed oFocus is on scheduled factors that control the timing and respective performance of the instrumental behaviourSchedules of Intermittent ReinforcementIn simple schedules a single factor determines which occurrence of the instrumental response is reinforced oIntermittent reinforcement delivers reinforcement for some responsesRatio SchedulesoReinforcement depends on the number of responses the organism has performReinforcement can be delivered after a fixed or variable Averge number of responsesoCounting the number of responses that have occurred and delivering the reinforcer each time the required number is reachedoIf the required number is 1 every occurrence of the instrumental results in delivery of the reinforceroSituations in which responding is reinforced only some of the time are said to involve partial or intermittent reinforcementoFixedRatio ScheduleFixed ratio between the number of responses the rat made and the number of reinforcers it got Delivers reinforcement after every nth response A continuous reinforcement schedule is also a fixedratio scheduleDelivers reinforcement for every occurrence of the responseA cumulative record is a special way of representing how a response is repeated over time The slope of the line made by this is a visual representation of when and how frequently the subject responds during a sessionThe rate of responding that occurs just after reinforcement is called the postreinforcement pauseoPattern of respondingoThe length of the pause is controlled by the upcoming ratio requirementThe high and steady rate of responding that completes each ratio requirement is called the ratio run1
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