Like Reinforcement, punishment has both a negative and positive component in relation to Operant Conditioning.

Punishment is when there is a consequence to a behaviour and the consequence seeks to decrease the or stop the behaviour from happening again. Unlike reinforcement which adds or subtracts something to the situation in order to increase the behaviour, punishment adds or subtracts something or order to decrease the behaviour.

Positive punishment is when there is there is an undesirable consequence because of a behaviour and in turn causes the behaviour to decrease or stop. I have burnt my hand on a pot or pan at home because I unthinkingly touched them with out putting on the oven mitts. For this the pain is the added stimulus. Pain is the natural consequence for touching something extremely hot. It is unlikely that I would knowingly reach for a hot pan without oven mitts on again. Or I wait for my tea to cool down before I drink it. My gramma and I drink tea every night before we go to bed. We have both been impatient and burnt out tongues instead of waiting for the tea to cool. Burning my tongue is also a a positive punishment in the regards that pain is once again and added unpleasant result of not waiting for the tea to cool down.

Negative punishment is the removal of something we find pleasant or desirable, to decrease the unwanted behaviour. I can remember more incidents at home dealing with negative punishment then positive. They are at least easier to pick out and are more readily explained. Living with my sister there were many incidents of arguing and being unpleasant to each other. Gramma and Poppa has on numerus occasions taken away our toys, or shut off the movies, thus removing something we wanted in order to get us to behave.


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