Browse Definitions :
Definition

intermittent reinforcement

Contributor(s): Ivy Wigmore

Intermittent reinforcement is the delivery of a reward at irregular intervals, a method that has been determined to yield the greatest effort from the subject. The subject does not receive a reward each time they perform a desired behavior or according to any regular schedule but at seemingly random intervals.

Reinforcement theory is an area of behavioral psychology that explores the ways that people and other animals respond to rewards delivered according to various schedules. Rewards may be delivered continuously, at regular or irregular intervals. In rat studies, researchers found that the way to keep the subjects working longest was to reinforce the behavior at unpredictable intervals, rather than regularly.

Intermittent reinforcement and other principles of reinforcement theory are applied in areas of technology and business including human resource management, marketing and machine learning. In designing mobile apps and social media, intermittent reinforcement might take the form of rewards delivered on a schedule that seems random to the users but is designed to keep them active for longer. For example, "likes" might be reported when an algorithm has determined that the user is likely to leave Instagram. Through its algorithms, Facebook can detect when a teenager is likely to feel insecure and deliver a confidence boost.

Online gambling and internet addictions exhibit the same principle: The individual receives just enough rewards (which might be in the form of wins or entertainment) at sufficiently sustainable intervals, to encourage them to continue.

See also: brain hijacking

This was last updated in May 2018

Continue Reading About intermittent reinforcement

Start the conversation

Send me notifications when other members comment.

Please create a username to comment.

-ADS BY GOOGLE

File Extensions and File Formats

Powered by:

SearchCompliance

  • compliance audit

    A compliance audit is a comprehensive review of an organization's adherence to regulatory guidelines.

  • regulatory compliance

    Regulatory compliance is an organization's adherence to laws, regulations, guidelines and specifications relevant to its business...

  • Whistleblower Protection Act

    The Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989 is a law that protects federal government employees in the United States from ...

SearchSecurity

  • reverse brute-force attack

    A reverse brute-force attack is a type of brute-force attack in which an attacker uses a common password against multiple ...

  • orphan account

    An orphan account, also referred to as an orphaned account, is a user account that can provide access to corporate systems, ...

  • voice squatting (skill squatting)

    Voice squatting is an attack vector for voice user interfaces (VUIs) that exploits homonyms (words that sound the same but are ...

SearchHealthIT

SearchDisasterRecovery

  • business continuity policy

    Business continuity policy is the set of standards and guidelines an organization enforces to ensure resilience and proper risk ...

  • business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR)

    Business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR) are closely related practices that describe an organization's preparation for ...

  • warm site

    A warm site is a type of facility an organization uses to recover its technology infrastructure when its primary data center goes...

SearchStorage

  • primary storage (main storage)

    Primary storage is the collective methods and technologies used to capture and retain digital information that is in active use ...

  • RAM (Random Access Memory)

    RAM (Random Access Memory) is the hardware in a computing device where the operating system (OS), application programs and data ...

  • cache memory

    Cache memory, also called CPU memory, is high-speed static random access memory (SRAM) that a computer microprocessor can access ...

Close