Intermittent Schedules of Reinforcement

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Definition:  When some but not all occurrences of  a behavior result in the delivery of reinforcement.

There are many forms of intermittent reinforcement.  All ration and Interval schedules other than CRF/FR1 are considered intermittent schedules of reinforcement

The two main variations of intermittent schedules are Ratio  schedules and Interval schedules.  These have their own pages on this site and can be investigated further there.

General Usage: Intermittent schedules are typically used to reduce the amount/frequency of reinforcement delivery after the target behavior has been initially acquired.


Effects:  Intermittent Schedules of reinforcement can have many effects depending upon the particular schedule.   However the main effect of an intermittent schedule that differs from a continuous schedule is the increased resistance to extinction. Behavior on an intermittent schedule will tend to persist longer in the absence of reinforcement than behavior on a CRF  schedule.


Michele D. Wallace, Brian A. Iwata, Gregory P. Hanley, Rachel H. Thompson, Eileen M. Roscoe
J Appl Behav Anal. 2012 Winter; 45(4): 709–719. doi: 10.1901/jaba.2012.45-709
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