A student talks to their classmate during class instead of completing the in-class work that is assigned to them.


  1. A student talks to their classmate during class instead of completing the in-class work that is assigned to them. Here is the three-term contingency of their behavior:

A) In class work assigned à B) Talking to neighbor à C) Added social time with friend. They are now more likely to sit by their friend in class. Which of the following concepts does the consequence represent?

  1. Positive reinforcement
  2. Negative reinforcement
  3. Positive punishment
  4. Negative punishment
  • The student in #1 above did not finish their work in class, so their teacher took away their recess. Here is the three-term contingency of their behavior:

A) Assigned work in class à B) Unfinished work à C) Less time at recess.

The student is now less likely to leave their homework unfinished. Which of the following concepts does the consequence represent?

  1. Positive reinforcement
  2. Negative reinforcement
  3. Positive punishment
  4. Negative punishment

Complete the ABC contingency for items 3 – 6, then label the type of consequence:

  • The sun shines directly into Amanda’s eyes on the drive to school. Amanda puts on her sunglasses, which decreases the amount of sunlight bothering her. Now, she is more likely to wear her sunglasses on the drive to school in the morning.

A____________________ à B___________________ à C___________________

Type of consequence: __________________

  • Tori used to tell their partner to do various odd chores (e.g., pick up their dirty clothes off the floor, rinsing the sink after brushing their teeth). One day, their partner blew up after Tori’s “suggestion.” As a result of that outburst, Tori no longer gives suggestions to their partner. Fill out the A-B-C’s for Tori’s behavior.

A______________________ à B___________________ à C_____________________

Type of consequence: __________________

  • When Ivan is near people, he places his forefinger close to his nose or, sometimes, even in his nostril. This action results in the inevitable negative reaction from others such as, “No Ivan, use a Kleenex.” Over time, Ivan’s nose picking behavior seems to have increased. Fill out the A-B-C’s for Ivan’s behavior.

A____________________ à B_____________________ à C____________________

Type of consequence: ________________

  • Aaron kept kicking his brother under the table at dinner time. After a warning, when Aaron kicked his brother yet another time, his dad informed Aaron that he would not get dessert that night. Aaron does not kick his brother at dinner anymore.Fill out the A-B-C’s for Aaron’s behavior.

A_____________________ à B____________________ à C___________________

Type of consequence: __________________

Schedules of Reinforcement

For each example below, decide whether the situation describes fixed ratio (FR), variable ratio (VR), fixed interval (FI) or variable interval (VI) schedule of reinforcement situation.

Note: the examples are randomly ordered, and there are not equal numbers of each schedule of reinforcement.

_____ 7. Getting paid $10 for every 20 puzzles solved.

_____ 8. Studying for a class that has surprise quizzes.

_____ 9. Slot machines are based on this schedule.

_____ 10. Doing 20 push-ups every day to help stay fit.

_____ 11. Getting a paycheck at the end of every 2-week pay period.

_____ 12. Getting a strike in bowling.

_____ 13. Calling your mechanic to see if your car is fixed.

_____ 14. A child screams and cries in the store to get what he wants–sometimes it works.

_____ 15. A surfer waiting for the perfect wave to ride in.

_____ 16. Skyler gives Taylor a high-five after the end of every lap swam in the pool.

TIPS:  To identify ratio vs interval: Does the reward have to do with the amount of it TIME that passes (interval) or with the amount of BEHAVIOR that is completed (ratio).

To identify fixed vs variable: Does the reward come at predictable times (fixed) or does it seem random (variable)

References

Frantz, S. (2011). Operant conditioning in the classroom. Retrieved from http://topix.teachpsych.org/w/page/36140077/Operant%20Conditioning%20in%20the%20Classroom

Velazquez Jr., I. (2004). Schedules of reinforcement. Retrieved from

http://www.sci.sdsu.edu/classes/psy101/Introductory_Psychology/Study%20Aids/Schedules_of_Reinforcement_worksheet_key.doc



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