In this podcast we will be discussing punishment. Certainly “reinforcement” is essential for learning in our day to day lives, BUT our survival and well being also depend on our learning to NOT do things that have in the past been threatening.
Scientifically, Punishment is the procedure of providing consequences that Reduce the strength and /or frequency of the behaviour it follows.
To be effective, punishment should be contingent on the target behaviour..and the interval between the behaviour and the punishing consequence should be short. Science also has shown the intensity of the punishing stimulus is directly proportional to the reduction in the target behaviour.
In this Podcast we provide a brief overview of the scientific definition of punishment, but also the potential problems when using it to modify behaviour.
Ryan and Dr Kat also discuss alternatives to using punishment, involving functional non aversive procedures (antecedent manipulation, extinction, differential reinforcement) to shape desirable behaviour.
The science of behaviour can show us that punishment works and can be used effectively, and also that sometimes punishment can alleviate suffering of the individual involved. Ethically however, good trainers should question its regular use – particularly when it comes to using positive punishment , and keep in mind the significant negative fallout when positive punishment is used or misused.
Knowing that there are positive and efficient alternative procedures…we as trainers/ teachers of other beings should always aim to employ them first to influence behaviour. Our aim should be to enhance and strengthen our relationships with all our learners. How animals feel…matters.
Author of written content: Dr Kat Gregory.
In this podcast episode Ryan read from a article from Dr Susan Friedman.It’s highly recommended that you check this article and all of Dr Friedman’s work. The article is called “What’s wrong with this picture? Effectiveness is not enough” To access the article click on the article title.