Skip to main content

Partial Reinforcement Effect

  • Reference work entry
Encyclopedia of the Sciences of Learning

Synonyms

Effect of intermittent reinforcement; Partial reinforcement extinction effect

Definition

The partial reinforcement effect (PRE) is the empirical finding that resistance to extinction is greater following acquisition where some, but not all, responses are reinforced (PRF); compared to acquisition all responses are reinforced (CRF). Extinction is the experimental condition where no reinforcers are given for each response, which generally results in the response no longer being made. Thus, “resistance to extinction” refers to the relative degree that the response continues to occur during the extinction condition. Another way of stating the basic PRE is that the persistence of a response undergoing extinction is greater when training (acquisition) consisted of PRF as compared to CRF.

Theoretical Background

The first report of the PRE occurred before the middle of the last century, and it has been studied in literally hundreds of experiments under a variety of procedures. The most...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this chapter

Subscribe and save

Springer+ Basic
EUR 32.99 /Month
  • Get 10 units per month
  • Download Article/Chapter or eBook
  • 1 Unit = 1 Article or 1 Chapter
  • Cancel anytime
Subscribe now

Buy Now

Chapter
USD 29.95
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Available as PDF
  • Read on any device
  • Instant download
  • Own it forever
eBook
USD 3,400.00
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Available as EPUB and PDF
  • Read on any device
  • Instant download
  • Own it forever
Hardcover Book
USD 2,999.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Durable hardcover edition
  • Dispatched in 3 to 5 business days
  • Free shipping worldwide - see info

Tax calculation will be finalised at checkout

Purchases are for personal use only

Institutional subscriptions

References

  • Amsel, A. (1967). Partial reinforcement effects on vigor and persistence. In K. W. Spence & J. T. Spence (Eds.), The psychology of learning and motivation (pp. 1–65). New York: Academic.

    Google Scholar 

  • Capaldi, E. J. (1967). A sequential hypothesis of instrumental learning. In K. W. Spence & J. T. Spence (Eds.), Psychology of learning and motivation (pp. 67–156). New York: Academic.

    Google Scholar 

  • Capaldi, E. J. (1994). The sequential view: From rapidly fading stimulus traces to the organization of memory and the abstract concept of number. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 1, 156–181.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hull, C. L. (1952). A behavior system: An introduction to behavior theory concerning the individual organism. New Haven: Yale University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Lawrence, D. H., & Festinger, L. (1962). Deterrents and reinforcement. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Spear, N. E., & Riccio, D. C. (1994). Memory: Phenomena and principles. Needham Heights: Allyn & Bacon.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Roger L. Mellgren .

Editor information

Editors and Affiliations

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

Copyright information

© 2012 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC

About this entry

Cite this entry

Mellgren, R.L. (2012). Partial Reinforcement Effect. In: Seel, N.M. (eds) Encyclopedia of the Sciences of Learning. Springer, Boston, MA. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-1428-6_276

Download citation

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-1428-6_276

  • Publisher Name: Springer, Boston, MA

  • Print ISBN: 978-1-4419-1427-9

  • Online ISBN: 978-1-4419-1428-6

  • eBook Packages: Humanities, Social Sciences and Law

Publish with us

Policies and ethics