third instance


Senior Member
Dear all
What does third instance mean?
context: For instance, if the program called for reinforcing every instance of picking up one’s clothes from the bedroom floor, the reinforcement schedule could be modified to a fixed-ratio schedule in which every third instance was reinforced.
Thanks in advance!
  • DonnyB

    Sixties Mod
    English UK Southern Standard English
    In the example you've given, it means that instead of something happening every time clothes were picked up from the bedroom floor, it would only happen every third time (the first and second time, nothing would happen).
    An 'instance' is an occasion. The same sort of event happens on several occasions. So you might choose to praise a child only on every third occasion (time of happening). It is known, by the way, that such patterns of reinforcement have a stronger effect than every time.