An example of continuous reinforcement is to put children in timeout every time they misbehave. Continuous reinforcement is simply a continuation of the same response to misbehavior every time it occurs.
Psychologists believe that continuous reinforcement is most effective when applied in the early stages of learning because it is a way of training subjects in regard to expectations. Reinforcement schedules are a part of operant conditioning, which is simply a way of training people to anticipate specific repercussions and rewards based on their actions. Because the real world is not a place in which it is realistic to monitor the every move of individuals, continuous reinforcement is confined primarily to controlled situations in which subjects are closely monitored.
In addition to continuous reinforcement, partial reinforcement, as its name implies, is when rule reinforcement is only sometimes enforced. In between partial and continuous reinforcement is fixed-ratio reinforcement. In this type of reinforcement, actions are reinforced based on a schedule. After the action is repeated a specific predetermined amount of times, reinforcement is applied. There are two types of reinforcement: positive and negative. Positive reinforcement rewards people when they respond in accordance with a rule. Negative reinforcement punishes them when they do not.