51. Variable Rewards Are Powerful

Ranary Mey
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Ranary Mey
Created by Ranary Mey almost 5 years ago
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Operant conditioning used to condition behaviour

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51. Variable Rewards Are Powerful

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  •     If you studied psychology in the twentieth century, you may remember B. F. Skinner and his work on operant conditioning. Skinner studied whether behavior increased or decreased based on how often, and in what manner, a reinforcement (reward) was given.    
  1. Schedules
    1. Interval

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      • You provide a food pellet after a certain interval of time has passed, for example, five minutes. The rat gets a food pellet the first time he presses the bar after five minutes is up.
      1. Fixed

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        • Reinforcement is based on time and the time interval is always the same.
        1. Variable

          Annotations:

          • Reinforcement is based on time. The amount of time varies, but it averages to a particular time
      2. Ratio

        Annotations:

        • Instead of basing the reinforcement on time, you base it on the number of bar presses. The rat gets a food pellet after every 10 bar presses.
        1. Fixed

          Annotations:

          • Reinforcement is based on the number of bar presses, and the number is always the same
          1. Variable

            Annotations:

            • Reinforcement is based on the number of bar presses. The number varies, but it averages to a particular ratio
        2. Takeaways
          1. For operant conditioning to work, the reinforcement (reward) must be something that particular audience wants. Hungry rats want food pellets. What does your particular audience really want?
            1. Think about the pattern of behavior you’re looking for, and then adjust the schedule of rewards to fit that schedule. Use a variable ratio schedule for the maximum behavior repetition.
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