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cornbird's avatar

Is positive punishment under Skinners Theory?

Asked by cornbird (1750points) March 24th, 2010

I have done a school project on Operant Conditioning and my teacher is telling me that positive punishment is not a part of Skinners theory on Operant Conditioning. Is she correct?

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12 Answers

anartist's avatar

Positive Reinforcement

Likeradar's avatar

As far as I know, your teacher is correct that “positive punishment” isn’t part of Skinner’s operant conditioning, because there’s no such thing. @anartist is right- It’s called positive reinforcement.
Punishment is negative. Reinforcement can be positive or negative.

cornbird's avatar

Isnt positive punishment is where you add a stimulus and negative punishment is where you take away a stimulus to decrease behaviour?

Lightlyseared's avatar

No, she is wrong positive punishment is part of Skinners theory. It is also important to understand that it is different to positive reinforcement. The effect of positive punishment is to weaken the behaviour that it that it follows. It differs from positive reinforcement that seeks to encourage the behaviour it follows

Likeradar's avatar

@cornbird huh. I just googled the term and apparently it does exist. I was a HD major (lots of studying Skinner) and I don’t remember ever hearing that term. I’m interested in what people say about this…

Just_Justine's avatar

I do think it is negative reinforcement, she is speaking of. Which is a negative action which reinforces behaviour. You also get positive reinforcer’s. Which are not punishment based, then erratic reinforcement (which is the strongest form of reinforcement. Skinner used it with Pigeons. I do believe it falls under Behavioural psychology.

Lightlyseared's avatar

Negative reinforcement is different to positive punishment. Negative reniforcement is the removal of something unpleasant to encourage a behavior.

elenuial's avatar

Positive punishment exists. Think of it as a 2×2 matrix.

Reinforcement is all about increasing behavior, while punishment is about decreasing it. Whether it’s negative or positive depends on whether you are taking away stimuli or adding them, and has nothing to do with whether it’s “good” or “bad.”

Here’s a set of examples:

Positive reinforcement—Giving candy to a kid who is polite
Negative reinforcement—Beating someone until they smile
Positive punishment—Kicking a kid who steals my watch
Negative punishment—Taking away somebody’s house when they can’t pay their mortgage

dpworkin's avatar

Your teacher is incorrect. @elenuial‘s analysis is correct.

Cupcake's avatar

Agree with @elenuial. Read here.

j0ey's avatar

positive punishment definitely DOES exist….I would be my right arm it does.

well done @elenuial, good answer.

From memory, Skinner found that reinforcement was more effective than punishment in operant conditioning..but it is definitely still a part of his research, and operant conditioning on a whole.

Teacher – FAIL
Fluther – WIN

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