Schedule of Reinforcement
As you know, reinforcement is a process that increases the frequency of a targeted behavior by either using a negative stimulus or a positive stimulus. In addition, reinforcement is effective when it occurs on some schedule. Psychologist have identified several different schedules by which reinforcement works well, including variable ratio, variable interval, fixed ratio, and fixed interval. Each schedule provides reinforcement in different ways according to different criteria, and work better in different situations. But the goal is always the same--deliver reinforcement in a way that increases the chances of a target behavior occuring more frequently.