8. Variable Duration Schedules
Description: To be reinforced, the behavior must occur continuously throughout
a variable time interval. This schedule used to increase behaviors that should
persist throughout a period of time.
- Long periods of continuous behavior until reinforced
- No post-reinforcement pause.
- Less strain with increases in average duration
- High RTE
Examples in natural environments.
- Stalking prey. The interval between catching prey is variable and the animal
must continue to stalk its prey throughout the period. Note that there will
be a pause in stalking after the animal has caught its prey, but this is due
to satiation, not due to a typical post-reinforcement pause.
- Rubbing two sticks together to produce fire. The time it takes to produce
fire varies, but the activity must continue throughout the whole period.
Examples in video games
- Hunting simulations. Where the player is required to stalk prey they are
on a variable duration schedule. There is a variable period required to succeed
and the player must continue to stalk throughout the whole period.
- Flight simulators. The player must fly the plane throughout the period
to successfully land the plane, or complete a mission.
- Racing games. The player must drive the vehicle for the entire race to