Partial Reinforcement in Game Biofeedback for Relaxation Training Academic Article uri icon


  • IEEE This paper investigates the effect of reinforcement schedules on biofeedback games for stress self-regulation. In particular, it examines whether partial reinforcement can improve resistance to extinction of relaxation behaviors, i.e., once biofeedback is removed. Namely, we compare two types of reinforcement schedules (partial and continuous) in a mobile biofeedback game that encourages players to slow their breathing during gameplay. The game uses a negative-reinforcement instrumental conditioning paradigm, removing an aversive stimulus (random actions in the game) if players slows down their breathing. We conducted an experimental trial with 24 participants to compare the two reinforcement schedules against a control condition. Our results indicate that partial reinforcement improves resistance to extinction, as measured by breathing rate and skin conductance post-treatment. In addition, based on slope and correlation analysis we found that participants in the partial reinforcement learned to slow their breathing at the same pace as those under continuous reinforcement. The article discusses the implications of these results and directions for future work.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Parnandi, A., & Gutierrez-Osuna, R.

citation count

  • 11

complete list of authors

  • Parnandi, Avinash||Gutierrez-Osuna, Ricardo

publication date

  • January 2021