The Difference Between Positive and Negative Punishment

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The Negative and the Positive Robin Pauley Kaplan University Professor Kathryn Hartnett Introduction to Psychology PS124-04 June 30, 2012 “Positive punishment works by presenting a negative consequence after an undesired behavior is exhibited, making the behavior less likely to happen in the future” (1) Working with children in my daycare home, I reinforce positive punishment. If I have two children fighting over a stuffed dinosaur, I will ask them how they think we could work this problem out. One will usually chime in and suggest she gets the toy first. I will them ask, “How long do you want the toy?” I would like the toy for five minutes”. I will then look at the other child, knowing full well he isn’t really ok with this and ask, “Josh, Sophia is going to play with the dinosaur for five minutes. Will you ask her if you can have the toy when she is all done?” Nine times out of ten, this works like a charm. Whoever is the one that has to wait for their turn also gets to be the “clock watcher”. This is an example of a positive punishment. “Negative punishment happens when a certain desired stimulus/item is removed after a particular undesired behavior is exhibited, resulting in the behavior happening less often in the future”. (2) In the situation above, instead of encouraging the children to solve the problem on their own, I could merely could have walked over to the children, taken the dinosaur away and left it at that. As easy and as easy as that would be, it hasn’t taught them a positive lesson in sharing. “Positive reinforcement is a very powerful and effective tool to help shape and change behavior. Positive reinforcement works by presenting a motivating item to the person after the desired behavior is exhibited, making the behavior more likely to happen in the future.” (3) This is a method I use daily with my children. My nine year old daughter,

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