Chapter 17: Using Punishment: Time-out and Response Cost
The princ iple of punishment
Punisher is an event tha t 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 appl ied in part as a deterrent to potential
wrong doers.” For behavior modifiers “punishment” is simply a technical
word refer r ing to the application of an immediate consequence following a
behavior of individual tha t has the effect of decreasing the like hood of future
instances of that behavior in that individual.
Time-out involves transfer r ing 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