Variable Ratio

Used in teaching and proper use of reinforcers, the variable ratio is a way of describing a group of different response-based schedules of reinforcement. For example, the learner’s correct 2nd, then 3rd, then 6th, then 1st responses will be reinforced.  These different response rates (2nd, 3rd, 6th, and 1st) will be labeled as VR-3—the average of the sum of the four rates of responses. Behaviors on a VR schedule tend to show consistent and steady response rates in which the learner does not “pause” after a reinforcer is presented as the next response may produce it. Like VI, the higher the [ratio] requirement, the more the learner will do the behavior.