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

  • regulatory compliance

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

  • privacy compliance

    Privacy compliance is a company's accordance with established personal information protection guidelines, specifications or ...

  • data governance policy

    A data governance policy is a documented set of guidelines for ensuring that an organization's data and information assets are ...

SearchSecurity

SearchHealthIT

  • telemedicine (telehealth)

    Telemedicine is the remote delivery of healthcare services, such as health assessments or consultations, over the ...

  • Project Nightingale

    Project Nightingale is a controversial partnership between Google and Ascension, the second largest health system in the United ...

  • medical practice management (MPM) software

    Medical practice management (MPM) software is a collection of computerized services used by healthcare professionals and ...

SearchDisasterRecovery

SearchStorage

  • megabytes per second (MBps)

    Megabytes per second (MBps) is a unit of measurement for data transfer speed to and from a computer storage device.

  • zettabyte

    A zettabyte is a unit of measurement used by technology professionals and the general public to describe a computer or other ...

  • hybrid flash array

    A hybrid flash array is a solid-state storage system that contains a mix of flash memory drives and hard disk drives.

Close