Effects of reinforcer magnitude and distribution on preference for work schedules



When the overall magnitude of reinforcement is matched between 2 alternative work schedules, some students prefer to complete all of their work for continuous access to a reinforcer (continuous work) rather than distributed access to a reinforcer while they work (discontinuous work). We evaluated a student's preference for continuous work by manipulating the overall magnitude of reinforcement associated with continuous work. Preference for continuous work persisted despite a 20% decrease in reinforcer magnitude; however, a 40% decrease in reinforcer magnitude produced a shift in preference to discontinuous work.