Variable Interval Schedule
Description: The first response after a variable time interval is reinforced.
- Moderately steady rate of responding and
- No (or only small) post-reinforcement pause.
- High resistance to extinction
Examples in natural environments:
- A parent attending to the cries of a child. Parents will not typically
attend to the child each time it cries, but will leave he or she to fuss for
a period before attending.
- Checking voicemail. Calls can arrive at any time so there is a variable
interval between each voicemail received.
- Fishing. If you just cast your hook and wait, fishing operates on a variable
interval basis. However, if you have to cast several times to catch a fish,
this is more like a duration schedule (see below).
Examples in video games:
- Waiting for monsters to re-spawn in a game where respawning occurs at variable
intervals. Note: In multiplayer games other players may be waiting for the
monster to re-spawn as well, in which case there is a variable interval, limited
hold schedule (see below).
- Checking for mail messages from other players.