Shaping Shorter Reaction Times: A Comparison of Fixed, Percentile, and Random Reinforcement Schedules
Easter, Phillip C.
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Despite the increased use of percentile schedules in human behavior modification procedures, there still exists little evidence to suggest that these schedules can effectively shape human behavior. To examine this question more thoroughly, a button-pressing procedure was designed to determine if percentile reinforcement schedules could shape faster reaction times in humans. Twelve participants took part in nine sessions and were tested under fixed, percentile, and random reinforcement conditions for three sessions each. Participants received points that were exchangeable for money when their response times met the reinforcement criteria. The results obtained for the effects of condition, session, and the interaction of the two were found to be not significant, and suggest that none of the reinforcement schedules was able to shape significantly lower reaction times. The results were consistent with a previous study that also examined the efficacy of percentile schedules for shaping shorter reaction times. Suggestions for modifications for future research are also included.