A schedule of reinforcement is a rule that describes how often the occurrence a behavior will receive a reinforcement. On the two ends of the spectrum of schedules of reinforcement there is continuous reinforcement (CRF) and extinction (EXT).
Continuous reinforcement provides a reinforcement each and every time a behavior is emitted. If every time you hear the doorbell ring and there is someone on the other side of the door with a package for you, that would continuous reinforcement.
With extinction, a previously reinforced behavior is no longer reinforced at all. All reinforcement is withdrawn with a schedule of extinction. An example of this is if every time you go to the grocery store with your child, when they ask for a treat, you give it to them. One day, you decide to put this behavior into extinction and try to reduce the “asking for candy” behavior by not giving it to them any more. You are now putting the behavior into extinction, which can have the affect of temporarily increasing aggressive behaviors as a side effect.
Intermittent schedules of reinforcement (INT) are when some, but not all, instances of a behavior are reinforced. An intermittent schedule of reinforcement can be described as either being a ratio or interval schedule. Ratio schedules are when a certain number of responses are emitted before reinforcement. An interval schedule is when a response is reinforced after a certain amount of time since the last reinforcement. The interval or ratio schedule can be either fixed or variable. A fixed schedule is when the number of responses or the amount of time remains constant. A variable schedule is when the number or time between reinforcements changes according to an average.
Post-reinforcement pauses are associated with fixed schedules of reinforcement. While both fixed ratio and fixed interval show a post-reinforcement pause, the fixed ratio has a high steady rate. This type of schedule shows a scalloped effect when graphed. This is due to the fact that immediately after the reinforcement is delivered there is a decrease in responding, and before the next scheduled opportunity there is an increase in responding behavior. Post-reinforcement pauses and scalloped graphed effects are not present with variable schedules and conjunctive schedules of reinforcement.
Concurrent schedule (conc)
Occurs when 2+ contingencies of reinforcement operate independently and simultaneously for 2+ behaviors.
Uses choice making
3 Types of Interactions associated with concurrent schedules are:
Multiple schedule (mult):
Chained schedule (chain): Presents the schedules in a specific order and may use the same or different behaviors for all elements in the chain.
Mixed schedule (mix)
Tandem schedule (tand)
Alternative schedule (alt)
Conjunctive schedule (conj)
Progressive Schedule: Systematically thin each following reinforcement opportunity regardless of the learners behavior.