Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 1994


Initially published in Psychological Record, Spring 1994, p155-169.

© 1994 by Southern Illinois University

Reprinted with permission:


Three groups of college students were asked to determine how points were earned in a task that allowed the assessment of response variability. All students received points for sequences of eight presses distributed across two keys (four presses on each key). One group received a point for each correct sequence, one group received points on a fixed-ratio 2 schedule, and one group received points on a random-ratio 2 schedule. There were no significant differences in nonverbal response variability across the three groups, and the fixed-ratio 2 and random-ratio 2 groups obtained equivalent point totals. However, participants in the random-ratio group were significantly more likely to write verbal descriptions of the task that made reference to performance-consequence relations that were not in effect. The results demonstrate that superstitious rule generation is more probable when consequences are random and not merely intermittent.



The views expressed in this paper are solely those of the author.