What Is a Fixed-Ratio Schedule?


A fixed-ratio schedule is a schedule of reinforcement where a response is only reinforced upon a specified number of responses. Generally, it is a rule indicating behavior instances to be reinforced. This schedule yields a high, stable responding rate with only a brief break after the enforcer’s delivery.

The fixed-ratio schedule is commonly used when learning a new behavior. Application examples of this schedule are in production line work and tokens collection in a video game. Employees at a widget factory are compensated for every 15 widgets they produce. This leads to an increased production rate and the personnel tend to break for few minutes, but it can also result in burnout and poor quality work. In most of the video games, the player has to collect several tokens, objects or points to receive some form of reward.