# Schedules of Reinforcement in Operant Conditioning.

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## Schedules of Reinforcement in Operant Conditioning.

In operant conditioning, reinforcement is a consequence that increases the likelihood of a particular behaviour being repeated in the future. In other words, reinforcement is a way to strengthen or “reinforce” a behaviour. Schedules of reinforcement refer to the specific pattern of reinforcing a behaviour. There are several different types of schedules of reinforcement, including:

1. Continuous reinforcement: This schedule involves reinforcing a behaviour every time it occurs. For example, if a rat is continuously reinforced for pressing a lever, it will receive a reward (such as a food pellet) every time it presses the lever.
2. Fixed-ratio reinforcement: This schedule involves reinforcing a behaviour after a specific number of responses. For example, if a rat is on a fixed-ratio schedule of reinforcement and is reinforced after every fifth lever press, it will receive a reward for pressing the lever five times.
3. Variable-ratio reinforcement: This schedule involves reinforcing a behaviour after an unpredictable number of responses. For example, if a rat is on a variable-ratio schedule of reinforcement and is reinforced after an average of five lever presses, it will receive a reward for pressing the lever an unpredictable number of times (e.g., 3, 5, 8, etc.).
4. Fixed-interval reinforcement: This schedule involves reinforcing a behaviour after a fixed amount of time has passed. For example, if a rat is on a fixed-interval schedule of reinforcement and is reinforced every hour, it will receive a reward for the first behaviour it performs after one hour has passed.
5. Variable-interval reinforcement: This schedule involves reinforcing a behaviour after an unpredictable amount of time has passed. For example, if a rat is on a variable-interval schedule of reinforcement and is reinforced after an average of one hour has passed, it will receive a reward for the first behaviour it performs after an unpredictable amount of time has passed (e.g., 45 minutes, 1 hour, 1.5 hours, etc.).

Schedules of reinforcement can be used to shape and maintain certain behaviours in both animals and humans. Understanding the different schedules of reinforcement can be useful in a variety of settings, including education, therapy, and business.