A problem with the use of punishment is that

Kendra Cherry, MS, is an author, educational consultant, and speaker focused on helping students learn around psychology.

You watching: A problem with the use of punishment is that


Punishment is a term supplied in operant conditioning to describe any change that occurs after a actions that reduces the likelihood that that behavior will certainly occur aget later on. While positive and negative reinforcementsare offered to increase habits, punishment is focused on reducing or eliminating undesirable behaviors.

Punishment is often wrongly perplexed with negative reinforcement. The difference: Reinforcement increases the chances that a actions will certainly occur and punishment decreases the possibilities that a habits will take place.

Types of Punishment

Behaviorist B. F. Skinner, the psychologist who initially defined operant conditioning, identified 2 different kinds of aversive stimuli that can be provided as punishment:


While punishment deserve to be reliable in some cases, you have the right to probably think of a few examples of when apunishment does not continuously mitigate undesirable actions. Prichild is one instance. After being sent out to jail for a crime, civilization regularly continue committing crimes as soon as they are released from priboy.

Why is it that punishment appears to occupational in some instances however not in others? Researchers have uncovered 2 determinants that add to exactly how efficient punishment is in different cases.

First, punishment is even more effective if is used quickly. Prichild sentences regularly happen lengthy after the crime has actually been committed, which might aid define one reason why sfinishing human being to jail does not constantly lead to a reduction in criminal habits.

See more: Developing A Classroom Management Plan Using A Tiered Approach By Tasha Stringer

2nd, punishment achieves greater results once it is consistently used. It deserve to be challenging to administer a punishment every single time a actions occurs. For instance, world frequently continue to drive over the rate limit even after receiving a speeding ticket. Why? Because the habits is inconsistently puniburned.

Punishment is even more most likely to cause a reduction in actions if it instantly complies with the actions and also is continuously applied.

Drawbacks and also Consequences

Punishment also has some noteworthy drawbacks. First, any habits changes that outcome from punishment are frequently temporary. "Punished actions is likely to reappear after the punitive consequences are withattracted," Skinner explained in his book "Beyond Freedom and also Dignity."

Perhaps the biggest drawback is the truth that punishment does not actually market any type of information around more proper or preferred behaviors. While subjects might be learning to not percreate particular actions, they are not really learning anything about what they should be doing.

Anvarious other point to take into consideration about punishment is that it have the right to have unintfinished and unpreferable consequences. For example, a 2014 survey in America uncovered practically half of paleas admitted to spanking their younger kids (age 9 and also under) in the past year. Researchers have discovered that this type of physical punishment may result in antisocial actions, aggression, and delinquency among kids.

For this reason, Skinner and other psychologists indicate that any kind of potential short-lived gains from using punishment as a behavior modification tool need to be weighed against the potential irreversible aftermath.

Ever wonder what your personality type means? Sign up to uncover out more in our Healthy Mind newsletter.

See more: A Learner Who Is Use First For Sequence Will Likely Say Something Like

Verywell Mind offers just high-top quality resources, consisting of peer-reviewed researches, to support the facts within our posts. Read our editorial procedure to learn more around how we fact-examine and also keep our content accurate, trustworthy, and trustworthy.