What are the different schedules for reinforcement in operant conditioning?

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If you are talking simply about the timing of reinforcement, there are two different types of schedule.  One is called a fixed interval schedule and the other is called a variable interval schedule.  There are also two other kinds of schedules.  These are fixed ratio schedules and variable ratio schedules.

In fixed interval schedules, the reinforcement is given at a set time.  For example, a rat could be reinforced once every minute.  A variable interval schedul reinforces at random times.

A fixed ratio schedule reinforces a behavior every X number of times that it is done.  For example, a rat might be reinforced every time it pushes a lever 10 times.  For a variable ratio, the reinforcement is connected to the behavior, but it takes a more random number of behaviors to trigger the reinforcement.

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