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According to B.F.Skinner, superstitious behaviors are the result of what? Is it continuous reinforcement or accidental reinforcement?

  • Psychology - ,

    It looks like its continuous reinforcement.

  • Psychology - ,

    I disagree with Ms.Sue.

    The reinforcement schedule that you call accidental reinforcement can also be called variable interval, variable ratio or random reinforcement. In other words, you are reinforced "every once in a while" in an unpredictable manner.

    This leads to various superstitious rituals in many different areas. In baseball, before getting into the batters box, batters go through specific actions that they believe will increase their success. (At your next baseball game, watch each batter. You will find that each one has a different ritual.)

    Gamblers handle their cards in particular ways — for example, not touching their cards until the whole hand has been dealt — because this behavior has been randomly reinforced.

    Random reinforcement is extremely hard to bring to extinction. This is a partial explanation for compulsive gambling. In contrast, continuous reinforcement — being reinforced every time you do a response — goes to extinction rather easily.

    I hope this helps. Thanks for asking.

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