Punishment (psychology)

In operant conditioning, punishment is any change in a human or animal's surroundings that occurs after a given behavior or response which reduces the likelihood of that behavior occurring again in the future. As with reinforcement, it is the behavior, not the animal, that is punished. Whether a change is or is not punishing is determined by its effect on the rate that the behavior occurs, not by any "hostile" or aversive features of the change. For example, a painful stimulus which would act as a punisher for most people may actually reinforce some behaviors of masochistic individuals.

There are two types of punishment in operant conditioning:

Punishment is not a mirror effect of reinforcement. In experiments with laboratory animals and studies with children, punishment decreases the likelihood of a previously reinforced response only temporarily, and it can produce other "emotional" behavior (wing-flapping in pigeons, for example) and physiological changes (increased heart rate, for example) that have no clear equivalents in reinforcement.

Punishment is considered by some behavioral psychologists to be a "primary process" – a completely independent phenomenon of learning, distinct from reinforcement. Others see it as a category of negative reinforcement, creating a situation in which any punishment-avoiding behavior (even standing still) is reinforced.

Positive punishment occurs when a response produces a stimulus and that response decreases in probability in the future in similar circumstances.

Negative punishment occurs when a response produces the removal of a stimulus and that response decreases in probability in the future in similar circumstances.

This page was last edited on 14 June 2018, at 23:18.
Reference: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Punishment_(psychology) under CC BY-SA license.

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