Skinner's Theory Of Punishment

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Punishment Punishment is a behavior modification procedure in which a response is followed by a consequence, which decreases the future frequency of the response and similar responses. There are two theories about punishment that shape how punishment is defined today. The first theory defines punishment as a procedure that elicits a response incompatible with the punished behavior (Holth, 2005). This theory was supported by Thorndike and Skinner who believed that punishment was not effective at reducing the rate of responding and that in the absence of punishment responding rates would increase (Holth, 2005). This effect was noted by Skinner in an experiment he conducted with rats in 1938 (Holth, 2005). Skinner found that when rats were punished for pressing a lever, for a particular period of time, their rate of responding decreased. However, when the punishment procedure was terminated the rats’ rate of responding returned to pre-punishment levels (Holth, 2005).
The second theory compares punishment to reinforcement. This theory was supported by researchers Fantino and Logan in 1963, who believed punishment and reinforcement were symmetrical processes (Holth, 2005). The definition of
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Punishment is rarely effective when used by teachers and parents. Schools often used in-school and out-school suspensions, expulsions, fines, and classroom removal to decrease problem behaviors (Maag, 2001). Punishment is used because of its immediate suppressive effects on behavior. A teacher may lean towards using punishment in their class because it reduces problem behaviors. Maag (2001) describes how the education system’s misuse of punishment has negative effect on the students, and how it may instead negatively reinforce problem behaviors. When these procedures are used without any regards to their effectiveness, they can have serious negative

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