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Chapter 6

Chapter 6.pdf

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John Bassili

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Chapter 6: Punishment
Punishment defined:
1. A particular behaviour occurs
2. A consequence immediately follows the behaviour
3. As a result, the behaviour is less likely to occur again in the future (behaviour weakened)
Punisher: consequence that makes a particular behaviour less likely to occur in the future
e.g. dog bite
Cannot define punishment by whether consequence appears unfavourable or aversive (may be
Can conclude that a particular consequence is punishing only if the behaviour decreases in the
Consider: if a behaviour decreases or stops only temporarily when consequence administered,
or whether the behaviour decreases in the future.
Common misconception about punishment: hurt person who committed crime ie. Prison time,
death sentence, fines, going to hell, spanking, or scolding. Believe punishment in B.M. is wrong
Positive and Negative Punishment:
Positive punishment:
1. The occurrence of a behaviour
2. Followed by the presentation of an aversive stimulus
3. As a result, behaviour is less likely to occur in the future
Negative punishment:
1. The occurrence of a behaviour
2. Removal of reinforcing stimulus
3. As a result, behaviour less likely to occur in the future
Reinforcement strengthens a behaviour or makes it more likely to occur in future whereas
punishment weakens behaviour or makes it less likely to occur in future
Corte, Wolf, and Locke helped institutionalized adolescents with mental retardation decrease
self-injurious behaviour by using punishment. One person slapped herself in the face. Each time
she did, researchers immediately applied electric shock with handheld shock device. As a result,
# of times she slapped herself each hour decreased from 300-400 to almost zero.
This is example of positive punishment because painful stimulus was presented each time girl
slapped face, behaviour decreased as a result (another example: rumination in infants)
Positive punishment: PREMACK principle when person is made to engage in low-probability
behaviour contingent on high probability behaviour, high probability behaviour will decrease in
frequency (if after engaging in problem behaviour, person has to do something he/she doesn’t
want to do then the person will be less likely to engage in the problem behaviour in future)
Use this principle on developmentally delayed 6 year old boy stop engaging in aggressive
behaviour (everytime he hit someone, forced to stand up and sit down on floor 10 times in row)
Difference between extinction and punishment: punishment results in IMMEDIATE decrease in
target behaviour (whereas extinction takes longer, and there’s extinction burst)
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