Document Type

Theoretical Article


Published just over a half century ago, Schedules of Reinforcement (SOR) (Ferster & Skinner, 1957) marked the seminal empirical contribution of the book’s second author and ushered in an era of research on behavior–environment relationships. This article traces the origins of both the methods and the data presented in SOR, and its legacy within experimental psychology. The operant methodology outlined in SOR revolutionized the study of behavior pharmacology and early investigations of choice behavior. More recently, schedules have been used to examine microeconomic behavior, gambling, memory, and contingency detection and causal reasoning in infants, children, and adults. Implications of schedules research for the psychology curriculum are also discussed.