Reinforcement Schedules | Homework Help Service

A reinforcement schedule entails a guideline detailing how the occurrence of behavior will be reinforced.  The reinforcement of behaviors occurs in different schedules. There are cases when the reinforcement occurs after every instance when the action is undertaken. There are other times when a response is reinforced at sometimes, and other instances in which the behavior is not reinforced at all (Segers et al., 2018). The reinforcement schedules mainly occur concerning operant conditioning.  Schedule reinforcement forms an essential and fundamental aspect in the operant conditioning as they exhibit an integral component of the learning process. There is the fact that the time and the frequency of reinforcement of behavior could significantly affect the strength and the rate of response that an individual exhibit.

Fixed interval schedules refer to the reinforcement schedules entailing the reward of the initial action only after a specified period elapse. The fixed interval schedule results in a high response quality close to the end of the reaction. The amount of responding is, however, significantly slower instantly following the conveyance of the reinforcement. The fixed ratio response schedule entails a reinforcement schedule in which an action is encouraged and rewarded after specified amount of activities. The response schedule results in a high steady rate of reaction. It possesses only a few breaks following the conveyance of the primary reinforcement. Variable ratio schedules happen in the case that a behavior is rewarded following a random number of actions. The Variable ratio results in responding rate that is high and steady. Among the examples of the variable ratio schedule include gambling and the lottery games.

Variable-interval schedules involves the case when a response is presented following the elapse of the unpredicted amount of time. The result of the reaction produced by the response schedule comprises of an unhurried but fixed rate of actions. The reinforcing schedule works in significant to foster the learning of a behavior in a slow way. The behavior learned has the potentiality of being permanent.

How the Reinforcement Schedules work

Fixed interval reinforcement schedules occur following the issuance of rewards or punishment to the responses exhibited. An individual is motivated to work in a way that would limit the rate of negative compensation and increase the positive reward. It operates through the formulation of connection with the behaviors and the consequences of the responses. The behaviors that attract positive rewards and outcomes become more preferred and dominant. On the other hand, those that attract positive outcomes and rewards are eliminated. In the fixed interval schedules, the resulting responses entail that the results in a significant pause in the response that comes after the reinforcement. Also, the response increases gradually as the time for reinforcement nears.

The fixed ratio response schedule work to either strengthen or weaken a behavior. It entails a form of associative learning where behavior change is dependent on the consequence of the behavior. According to Kono (2017), positive outcomes result in the reoccurrence of behavior, while harmful effects occur in the elimination of an action. The rate and the schedule of reinforcement of behavior affect the frequency and the strength of the response. The results of the reinforcement schedule include a high, steady response until the delivery of the response. It is vital in the learning of new behaviors. Despite resulting in a brief response pause following the reinforcement, the response quickly resumes.

The variable-ratio schedules work through the provision of reward after a random number of times. Song, Takahashi & Sakurai (2019) explain that, since positive response results in positive rewards and negative responses result in negative rewards, individuals are encouraged to engage in positive responses to attract positive rewards. The result of the response schedule entails a high steady response rate. Also, there is only a brief pause after the reinforcement. The response then continues after the pause.

The variable interval schedules operate in the principle that reinforcement is essential for the promotion of behavior, while punishment is used to stop a behavior.  It focusses on the factor of reinforcement rate as being necessary for the improvement of the strength and frequency of response. The resulting response following the reinforcement is highly resistant to extinction.  Also, the response rate is moderate but steady. It also causes very minimal pause following the provision of the reinforcement.

Choice of the Reinforcement Schedule

The provided information on the reinforcement schedule and response rates shapes the response rate to develop behavior. It works through the choice of the reinforcement schedule that would best promote a response. The decision, in this case, would be focussed on the nature of stability created by the enforcement schedule. The focus would be to determine the rate and the length of the pause following the provision of reinforcement. The goal would be to determine the reinforcement schedule that results in either no pause or very minimal pause after the reinforcement.

The choice of the reinforcement schedules focuses on the plan that would facilitate the development of positive behavior and limit or eradicate the negative behavior. The goal of the reinforcement schedule is to endure the development of operant behavior in the best way as required. In the development of the behavior that focusses on the ability to keep time, I would seek to ensure that the reinforcement schedule that I choose pushes me to be able to continue with the adopted behavior even after receiving the reinforcement. The reinforcement schedule selected would be focused on ensuring that even after the recipient, the behavior is continued instantly, without being paused for a long time.

Reason for Choice of Reinforcement Schedule

The reinforcement schedule that I would select to enable me in developing my behavior and habit of timekeeping is the variable-interval reinforcement schedule. The choice of the reinforcement is dependent on the various attributes associated with it. Among the essential characteristics of reinforcement of the schedule is that the time for the reinforcement is not specified. As a result, the behavior will be continued for a significantly long time to acquire the reinforcement. The continued practice is worthwhile as it facilitates the development of the behavior.  The choice of reinforcement schedule focuses on the results obtained. For instance, following the reinforcement, the response that follows almost becomes permanent and crucial in the wellbeing of the involved party. The choice of this reinforcement schedule is essential in ensuring the behavior developed is maintained as required. Also, as the response is moderate and steady, it is well assimilated and learned, leading to the efficient mastery of the behavior. Following the fact that there is minimal or no pause of the response after the reinforcing, it is essential in ensuring that the action is continued seamlessly.



Kono, M. (2017). Effects of a reinforcement schedule controlling energy of pigeons’ pecking response. The Psychological Record67(3), 337-343.

Segers, E., Beckers, T., Geurts, H., Claes, L., Danckaerts, M., & Van der Oord, S. (2018). Working memory and reinforcement schedule jointly determine reinforcement learning in children: Potential implications for behavioral parent training. Frontiers in psychology9, 394.

Song, K., Takahashi, S., & Sakurai, Y. (2019). Reinforcement schedules differentially affect learning in neuronal operant conditioning in rats. Neuroscience research.

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