November 18, 2010
Any type of adding or removing something increase the probability of the response (both Sr+, adding
something pleasant, and Sr-, removing something unpleasant). Positive punishment is when you add
something unpleasance, and negative punishment is when you remove something pleasant (these 2
both decrease the probability of the response reoccurring).
Being “grounded” is like a teenager’s work for “time out”: really negative punishment; negative
reinforcement and removing all pleasurable things.
Is punishment effective? Does it work? We are restricted to the degree at which we are allowed to
punish during experiments and research. Some considerations:
1. Punishment, ideally, should be immediate. A reinforce is more effective if done immediately.
We, as human beings, can use language to make a point.
2. Punishment should be consistent: whenever that thing happens, you need to punish the child
every time they do it. If you do it only some of the time, the act will continue because they see
that they sometimes can get away with it. They also won’t know what exactly what is expected
3. Punishment can’t be too hard because then they will start fearing the punisher.
4. Parents are role models. If you tell a child not to hit and it was very wrong that they did and
then you hit him as a punishment, the reason the child is imitating you as it is.
Alternatives to punishment:
- Skinner believed that there was never need to punish. Reinforce the opposite behaviour, but
you don’t need to punish them to get them to do or not to do something. If you simply
reinforce him against the desirable alternative to what you want and be overly enthusiastic
when they do the right thing, they will get the point. Reinforce an acceptable alternative
- Ignore the unwanted or undesirable behaviour
Chapter 16: Social Behaviour
Social psychology: looking at people’s behaviour when they are in a social setting. 2 subsections:
1. Social cognition: the study of the way we perceive and evaluate others. Example: how we form
prejudice, love, personal attraction, personal attributes, etc.
2. Social influence: the way people influence each other’s behaviours, decisions, etc.
MIlgrim (1963)- social psychologist. He was baffled how people could’ve followed Hitler during his
command. Is it possible to come up with factors that influence why people listen to each other. His
studis experimented with the effects of punishment on learning. (LOOK UP STUDY ON TEACHER AND ELECTRIC SHOCK) The purpose whas to see how many subjects posing as teachers could administer 450
volts of electricity (even though they really weren’t, but they didn’t know that) to learners who got
questions wrong. The teacher wasn’t actually delivering the voltage but he thought that they were
when the learner got hte answer wrong. The teachers were told by the scientists that the shock would
be a bit painful, but it wouldn’t actually hurt them. They asked psychiatrists how many people would be
able to deliver the full voltage and their prediction: less than 1% would be able to.
Types of condtions:
(a) Remote condition: the teacher and the learner were in 2 separate rooms, and the teacher never
heard the voice of the person, but when more voltage was added, the student would pound on
the wall... 65% of the teachers were obedient until 450 volts.
(b) Voice feedback: the teacher would hear the student’s voice saying “stop! I have a heart
condition!” but 62.5% of them still continued!
(c) Proximity: the teacher and the student were sitting side by side... 40% continued!
(d) Touch proximity: the teacher has to grab the learner’s arm and place it on the electricity
(e) No contact whatsoever: 100% of teachers were obedient
Experimenter proximity: what if the experimenter left the room? The level of obedience dropped
significantly, from 65%-22%
Defying the experiments: there is another person there (a co-teacher) who is in on the study. When the
teacher would get to 150 volts, the co-teacher would get up and leave, saying that he was done. That
decreased the level of obedience from 65%-10%.
Biologically, we have that tendency to obey. We’re socialized to follow commands because we are
always told what to do! he felt that there are definitely factors that lead a person to be obedient or not,
as seen with this study.
Factors which influence willingness to obey (Milgrim):
- Social norms: an unwritten rule or law of society; certain expectation of society
- Surveillance: when someone isnt being watched so much, they are more likely to obey
- Buffers: the fewer the buffer (the more direct the experience/contact), the less likely obedience
- Responsibility: if the teacher can be put in a situation where he doesn’t feel responsible for the