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Schedules of Reinforcement

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The schedule of reinforcement has many variables, as well as many ways behavior is reinforced. In order to completely create reinforcement schedule the person must understand the behavior that they wish to change. In my case, the behavior that I wish to change is eating habits. In this paper, I will explore the different schedules of reinforcement and how each would work towards changing my behavior, as well as cause weight loss. My eating habits are very easy to explain, I eat when I am hungry which is not very often. This causes my body to store whatever nutrients I do take in, as well as any fat. This way of eating, in addition to medications I have and am taking make it extremely hard to lose any weight.

The first reinforcement schedule to explore is continuous interval reinforcement. The way this is done is by strengthening the behavior by rewards each time it occurs (Feldman, 2011). As Skinner hypothesized the rapid depletion of rewards, in Skinner’s case food pellets, can and should be taken for granted (Morgan, 2010). In my case, a continuous reinforcement of eating healthily would not be ideal because the reinforcement desired is weight loss. With continuously losing weight comes many health problems, especially if the drop is brisk. Another problem with continuously strengthening that behavior is the rewards themselves begin to mean little.

The next reinforcement schedule the Skinner developed is the partial reinforcement schedule, meaning behavior is strengthened with a reward only part of the time (Feldman, 2011). The partial schedule of reinforcement is further divided into four different categories, the fixed ratio, variable ratio, fixed interval, and variable interval. The fixed ratio schedule is where after...

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...fore I have taken the steps outlined in this essay and made a change in my behavior by joining Weight Watchers.

The final plus to weight loss is being able to fit into a wedding dress. At the current time, I am unable to fit into the dress I want, as they do not make a size big enough to fit all of me. By following the fixed ratio and variable interval schedules of reinforcement I will be able to lose the weight in order to stay healthy and fit into my dress.

Works Cited

Feldman, R. (2011). Operant Conditioning. In Essentials of Understanding Psychology (9th, pp. 179-182). New York, New York: McGraw Hill Companies, Inc.

Freedman, D. H. (2011). How to fix the obesity crisis. (Cover story). Scientific American, 304(2), 40-47.

Morgan, D. L. (2010). SCHEDULES OF REINFORCEMENT AT 50: A RETROSPECTIVE APPRECIATION. Psychological Record, 60(1), 151-172.
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