Differential Reinforcement of Low Response Rate Task
Differential reinforcement of low response rate (DRL) described by Ferster and Skinner is used to encourage low rates of responding. It is derived from research in operant conditioning that provides an excellent opportunity to measure the hyperactive child’s ability to inhibit behavioral responding. Hyperactive children were relatively unable to perform efficiently on the task, and that this deficit endured regardless of age, IQ, or experimental condition. Therefore, it can be used to discriminate accurately between teacher rated and parent rated hyperactive and nonhyperactive children. In this procedure, responses that occur before a set time interval has passed are not reinforced and reset the time required between behaviors.
In a study, a child was taken to the experimental room and told that they were going to play a game in which they had a chance to win a lot of M&M’s. Every time they made the light of the reward indicator by pressing a red button, they would earn an M&M’s. However, they had to wait a while (6 seconds) before they could press it to get another point. If they had pressed the button too soon, then they would have not gotten a point, and the light would not go on, and they had to wait a while before they could press it to get another point.
Researchers have also observed that subjects in a time-based situation will often engage in a sequence or chain of behaviors between reinforceable responses. This is because this collateral behavior sequence helps the subject “wait out” the required temporal delay between responses.
- Other common impulsivity tasks include the Continuous performance task (CPT), 5-choice serial reaction time task (5-CSRTT), Stroop task, and Matching Familiar Figures Task.
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