Extinction in Reinforcement

In continuous reinforcement, extinction occurs rapidly. The definition of extinction is ‘when a response is no longer reinforced’.

Taking the example of a child being given candy for doing his homework, continuous reinforcement is that every time the child does his homework, he gets candy.

How does extinction occur rapidly in this case?

Does the child become so used to getting candy that he gets bored with it, and it no longer becomes an incentive to do the homework?

Or is it that since the child now gets used to doing his homework, the parent can stop giving the candy as the child has formed a habit of doing his homework?

In both your examples, the candy is not shaping the child's behaviour. Extinction occurs when a response is no longer reinforced. This would mean that the parents stop giving the child candy, which in turn, would lead to the child not doing the homework (extinction).

In continuous reinforcement, the child is expecting a candy every time he does his homework, and he is used to getting rewarded continuously. So, when he stops getting rewarded, it leads to extinction in behaviour.

In partial/intermittent reinforcement, the child knows he will get the candy on certain occasions and not on others, thus when the parent stops reinforcement, the child still expects he will get the candy in the future (as he is used to not getting the candy at certain times). Hence, in this case, extinction does not occur rapidly as it does with continuous reinforcement.

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