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ch 12

Course Code
Zachariah Campbell

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The principle of punishment
Punisher is an event that when presented immediately following a behavior causes the
behavior to decrease in frequency.
Punishers are sometimes referred to as aversive stimuli or simply aversive.
Once an event has been determined to function as a punisher for particular behavior of
individual in a particular situation that event can be used to decrease other behaviors of
that individual in other situations
Associated with concept of punisher is the principle of punishment:
if in a given situation somebody does something that is immediately followed by a
punisher then that person is less likely to do the same thing again when he/she
encounters a similar situation
meaning of punishment for behavior modifiers is quite specific & differs from the
meaning of the word punishment for most laypersons in our general culture
ex: sending a person to jail as punishment for committing a crime
1.going to jail is not like to be an immediate consequence of committing the
2.many individual believe that punishment should involve retribution
3. In general culture punishment is applied in part as a deterrent to
potential wrong doers. For behavior modifiers punishment is simply a
technical word referring to the application of an immediate consequence
following a behavior of individual that has the effect of decreasing the like
hood of future instances of that behavior in that individual.
Types of punisher
Many kinds of events when delivered as immediate consequences for behavior fit our
definition of punisher. Most can be classified into the following categories;
a)pain-inducing punisher
b) reprimands

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d) response cost
a)Pain-inducing punishers
pain-inducing punisher also referred to as physical punishers, including all punishers
immediately following a behavior that activate pain receptors or other sense receptors
that typically evoke feeling of discomfort
Ex: includes spanking, pinches, electric shock, ammonia vapor, cold baths,
very loud or harsh sounds, prolonged tickling, & hair tugging.
Such stimuli or event are called unconditioned punisher (that is stimuli
that are punishing without any pain training or conditioning)
Application of punishers is not pleasant; nevertheless, there are case in which
individual have benefited greatly from the procedure
Reprimands are strong negative verbal stimuli (e.g. No that was bad!) immediately
contingent on behavior
Include fixed stare & sometimes a firm grasp
Stimulus paired with punishment becomes itself a punisher such stimulus is called a
conditioned punisher.
Verbal component of reprimand is a conditioned punisher
Effectiveness of reprimand has been increased by pairing them with other punishers
Time-out involves transferring individual on a more reinforcing to less reinforcing
situation immediately following a particular behavior
Can be viewed as time-out from the opportunity to earn reinforcers.
There are 2 types of time-outs
Exclusionary time-out consists of removing the learner for short time from the
situation in which reinforcement is occurring.
Nonexclusionary time-out consists of introducing into the situation a stimulus
associated with less reinforcement

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d)Response cost
Response cost involves the removal of a specified amount of reinforcer
immediately following a particular behavior
Response cost is sometimes used in behavior modification programs in which
learner earn tokens as reinforcer
Response cost differs from time-out in that there is no change in the prevailing
reinforcement contingencies when administered
Response cost is also not to be confused with extinction
In extinction procedure reinforcer is with held following a previously
reinforced response
In response cost a reinforcer is taken away following undesirable response
ex: response cost ex in everyday life are library fines, traffic tickets &
charges for overdrawn back accounts
direct-acting effect of punishment is the decreased frequency of a response cuz of
its immediate punishing consequence (within 30 second)
indirect-acting effect of punishment is the weakening of a response that is
followed by a punisher even though the punisher is delayed
delayed punisher may have an effect on behavior cuz of instructions about the
behavior leading to the punisher cuz of self-statement ( or thoughts) that
intervene b/w that behavior & the delayed punisher or cuz of immediate
conditioned punishers that intervene b/w the behavior & the backup punisher
Factors influencing the effectiveness of punishment
1) Maximizing the conditions for a desirable alternative response
to decrease undesirable response it is maximally effective to concurrently
increase some desirable alternative response that will compete with the
undesirable behavior to be eliminated
you should attempt to identify powerful S Ds that the control the desirable
behavior & present these to increase the likelihood that behavior will occur
to maintain the desirable behavior you should also have effective positive
reinforcers that can be presented on the effective schedule
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