How to make punishment effective.

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ChadL:
What is punishment?
Scientifically defined it is: A decrease in operant behavior when the behavior is followed by an aversive stimulus or when reinforcement is withdrawn contingent on responding. (how do you know if a stimulus is "aversive"? only if the animal seeks to escape or avoid it.)

So, if a behavior doesn't decrease then that behavior has not been punished.
Here's how to make it effective:
1.) Deliver the aversive stimulus abruptly not gradually (ever wonder howa masochist is made?). It should be swift and complete.
2.) Use a sufficient amount of intensity. Don't cause tissue damage, butdon't get slack on delivery otherwise your "punishment" may become ineffective.
3.) Deliver the punishment immediately following an unwanted behavior.
4.) Be consistent. To maximize suppression of target behavior, deliver theaversive stimulus as frequently as possible (after each and every occurance of the unwanted behavior), and increase intensity. So don't make idle threats; delivering punishment on an intermittent schedule will make it less effective in weaking the behavior (the opposite effect occurs with intermittent reinforcement).
5.) Remove the motivation to respond. If motivation is reduced, punishmentwill become most effective if it's even necessary anymore.
6.) Response alternative. Give the organism another way to obtain the samekinds of reinforcers. I.e., shape behavior that can effectively compete with the unwanted behavior. (of course this is not punishment, but is often most effective at decreasing an unwanted behavior).

Finally, the less often you use punishment, the more effective it will become (in regard to a phenomenon known as "habituation", and the fact that competing emotional responses could disrupt the learning of response alternatives).
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puppyhelp:
Hi,
[nq:1]What is punishment? Scientifically defined it is: A decrease in operant behavior when the behavior is followed by an aversive ... responding. (how do you know if a stimulus is "aversive"? only if the animal seeks to escape or avoid it.)[/nq]
My problem with 'punishment' as defined above, is that the introduction of
aversion, whereby it can be seen as an example set to a path to be followed. EG: 'Punishing an animal/child' for say hostility, by introducing 'aversion, which in my book is a form of hostility', is surely teaching by example that aversion/hostility is the way to go? The shock of
this aversive stimulus may temporarily stop or decrease the operant behaviour, but at risk of introducing (by what's been taught by example), another undesirable behaviour far more hostile. Should the 'punishment' continue, then the animal/child could learn to hide their behaviour from the punisher so as not to be further punished, but in so doing become devious and potentially dishonest. Punishment isn't appropriate, when teaching children and animals. That, I'm absolutely sure of.
Marilyn Bergeman
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C. L.:
First. it should be made abundantly clear that 90% of punishments are not physical in nature. Second, punishment does not modify behavior nearly as well as a reinforcer does. If you are relying on punishment to modify behavior, I would suspect you are going about it the wrong way. The ratio most people would find works the best is somewhere around 9:1 reinforcer : punishment.
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Handsome \Jack\ Morrison:
[nq:1]My problem with 'punishment'...[/nq]
... is that I don't even know what it is.

Handsome "Jack" Morrison
*gently remove the detonator to reply via e-mail
Q: Because it reverses the logical flow of conversation. A: Why is top posting frowned upon?
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ChadL:
[nq:2]What is punishment? Scientifically defined it is: A decrease in ... only if the animal seeks to escape or avoid it.)[/nq]
[nq:1]My problem with 'punishment' as defined above, is that the introduction of aversion, whereby it can be seen as an ... in my book is a form of hostility', is surely teaching by example that aversion/hostility is the way to go?[/nq]
Possibly, but not necessarily. And sometimes the behavior modeled, punishing though it may be, is indeed appropriate. For example, little Jimmy (could be dog, human or whatever) decides to run up to suzie and grab food out of suzie's hand. Now let's say that after Jimmy acts this way, neither Suzie nor anyone else will talk to Jimmy. Now, Jimmy is much less likely to do such a rude and obnoxious thing. This is punishment. This is good. Hopefully, Jimmy will do the same if some kid came up to him and did the same (if that method works on the other child).
Also, there are "natural" punishers in the environment as well. For example, Jimmy puts his hand on stove top with coils glowing red. He is punished. The behavior of putting his hand on glowing red objects will certainly decrease. This punishment is good. Why? because the consequences were beneficial over all in both cases. OH... and if your child comes anywhere near a light socket with a fork in his hand (and you don't have light child gaurds in your new house), and you smack his hand hard, I hope his behavior is punished and his life not ended.

there again, punishment is good. And if the kid gets older, and sees HIS little brother go toward the lightsocket with a fork, then hopefully, he will do as you did, and punish that behavior of his younger sibling. Punishment, on a daily basis, saves lives, fortunes, and social well-being. When you tell someone one in loud tones "WRONG!" what is it exactly that you think you're doing? That stimulus is probably a conditioned aversive stimulus, and if we never had such things, I doubt we'd be alive today.
[nq:1]The shock of this aversive stimulus may temporarily stop or decrease the operant behaviour,[/nq]
ahhh! you spell behavior with a "u"! (canadian? english? ausie?)
but at risk of introducing (by what's been taught by
[nq:1]example), another undesirable behaviour far more hostile.[/nq]
it simply depends on many things.
Should the
[nq:1]'punishment' continue, then the animal/child could learn to hide their behaviour from the punisher so as not to be further punished, but in so doing become devious and potentially dishonest.[/nq]
very very true. however, from this reason and all the others you've sighted (all very well said), it does not follow that all punishment is bad. To decide what is good or bad, we must closely examine all of the consequences (both short and long-term), of such actions.
[nq:1]Punishment isn't appropriate, when teaching children and animals.[/nq]
As you've seen above, I strongly disagree.
[nq:1]That, I'm absolutely sure of.[/nq]
Well, I am very open to logical arguments on this topic (and many others!). However, I hope you haven't committed yourself to an absolute stance without fully gauging the contradictory argument (contradictory to your present belief, that is). You might be surprised at how often you use punishment on an everyday basis and that's not always a bad thing! Emotion: smile

cheers,
Chad
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ChadL:
I understand your point, and I think it's good but I must question the source of your statistics. Emotion: smile
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puppyhelp:
Hi Chad, I appreciate your courteous response ...
[nq:2]Hi, My problem with 'punishment' as defined above, is that ... teaching by example that aversion/hostility is the way to go?[/nq]
[nq:1]Possibly, but not necessarily. And sometimes the behavior modeled, punishing though it may be, is indeed appropriate. For example, little ... same if some kid came up to him and did the same (if that method works on the other child).[/nq]
I can understand your reasoning, although what if little Jimmy never 'intended' to be 'bad' (as seen through the eyes of de punishers), and what if he'd learned to do this, through example or need? (by the way, What do you think makes him 'decide' to nick the food)? He may care nilch for whether Suzie speaks to him again ...
Someone else may speak to him - after all, he seems to have a flair for finding free grub.
[nq:1]Also, there are "natural" punishers in the environment as well. For example, Jimmy puts his hand on stove top with coils glowing red. He is punished. The behavior of putting his hand on glowing red objects will certainly decrease. This punishment is good.[/nq]
This is an example I've heard over and over and over and over... yet it's not an example of man punishing another being less able to defend him/her/itselves... which is what I'm referring to.
[nq:1]Why? because the consequences were beneficial over all in both cases. OH... and if your child comes anywhere ... his hand hard, I hope his behavior is punished and his life not ended. there again, punishment is good.[/nq]
How can this example of punishment be good? To hurt a child for something so innocent. It takes no longer to verbally, or if absolutely necessary, physically redirect (nicely), and then explain the dangers in a decent and respectful way. Smacking is not appropriate, ever.
[nq:1]And if the kid gets older, and sees HIS little brother go toward the lightsocket with a fork, then hopefully, he will do as you did, and punish that behavior of his younger sibling.[/nq]
Hopefully, the child would benefit from good examples set and not ever use physical or verbal abuse toward his little brother, sister, wife, or children.
[nq:1]Punishment, on a daily basis, saves lives, fortunes, and social well-being. When you tell someone one in loud tones ... stimulus is probably a conditioned aversive stimulus, and if we never had such things, I doubt we'd be alive today.[/nq]
I've aim to avoid telling anyone they're 'wrong'.
[nq:2]The shock of this aversive stimulus may temporarily stop or decrease the operant behaviour,[/nq]
[nq:1]ahhh! you spell behavior with a "u"! (canadian? english? ausie?)[/nq]
English
[nq:1]but at risk of introducing (by what's been taught by[/nq]
I've enjoyed our discussion, and happy to continue it Chad.. Thank you.
best regards,
Marilyn
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C. L.:
Experience.
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ChadL:
[nq:1]Hi Chad, I appreciate your courteous response ...[/nq]
as I appreciate yours. Emotion: smile
[nq:2]Possibly, but not necessarily. And sometimes the behavior modeled, punishing ... the same (if that method works on the other child).[/nq]
[nq:1]I can understand your reasoning, although what if little Jimmy never 'intended' to be 'bad' (as seen through the eyes of de punishers), and what if he'd learned to do this, through example or need?[/nq]
That is a great question the question of "intention". I think this question can be dealt with by following up with an even deeper question, what causes a person to "intend" on way or another? Personally, I feel that intentions are not nearly as important as consequences. Drunk drivers, though not intending to kill people, do so anyway. They are punished (hopefully), and the punishment is based on unnacceptable consequences of their actions, not intentions.
(by the way,
[nq:1]What do you think makes him 'decide' to nick the food)?[/nq]
I believe that all behaviors have payoffs (except perhaps for novel behaviors, but that can be argued too). I believe that these payoffs, or consequences, effectively maintain any given behavior. I believe that his decision, conscious or not conscious & intention or intentionless, was based on a history of being reinforced for nicking food. In short, we do what we do based on the consequences of what we do.
He may care
[nq:1]nilch for whether Suzie speaks to him again ...[/nq]
that is true, in which case Suzie's silence would not be punishing thus, he continue's to behave innappropriately.
[nq:1]Someone else may speak to him - after all, he seems to have a flair for finding free grub.[/nq]
very true.
[nq:2]Also, there are "natural" punishers in the environment as well. ... glowing red objects will certainly decrease. This punishment is good.[/nq]
[nq:1]This is an example I've heard over and over and over and over... yet it's not an example of man punishing another being less able to defend him/her/itselves... which is what I'm referring to.[/nq]
I threw it in there because I want us to explore the idea that man punishing another being is just as natural as the inanimate environment may punish man (e.g., lightining, fire, cold water, etc.). I want to introduce the idea that none of man's behaviors, not one, is unnatural, or beyond the scope of natural laws. What we judge as "good" or "bad", as always and for everything else, is based on consequences. Just because it is natural, doesn't mean we ought to call it "good" or "okay" or even "acceptable". And just because man did it, doesn't mean we should not think of it as "natural".
[nq:2]Why? because the consequences were beneficial over all in ... and his life not ended. there again, punishment is good.[/nq]
[nq:1]How can this example of punishment be good? To hurt a child for something so innocent. It takes no longer to verbally, or if absolutely necessary, physically redirect (nicely), and then explain the dangers in a decent and respectful way. Smacking is not appropriate, ever.[/nq]I can't disagree with you more. You do not want redirect this kind of behavior with mild conditioned aversive stimuli (which is what such explanations would amount to which I can show through further analysis of verbal behavior). No, you want to immediately stop all behavior that will get a child killed immediately because you won't get second chance if your explanation didn't sink in long enough while your back was turned. And if your child is not verbal or barely verbal, then yes it WILL take longer to explain.

This is a behavior that if he is ever successful at, it will be his last. The smack from your hand is nothing compared to smack from the light socket. Consequences guide our actions, and sometimes, simple explanations are not consequences that are strong enough to change our behavior. (if all it took were an explanation, then everybody would be rich, educated, and in shape! )
[nq:2]And if the kid gets older, and sees HIS little ... you did, and punish that behavior of his younger sibling.[/nq]
[nq:1]Hopefully, the child would benefit from good examples set and not ever use physical or verbal abuse toward his little brother, sister, wife, or children.[/nq]I agree. However, I want to stress the difference between punishment and abuse. There is big and important difference. This is one of the reasons I've come to this group. People, particularly dog people, have been misinformed when it comes to the use of punishment. They often have been led to believe that it is synonymous with abuse. It isn't. Abuse is when you continue to deliver an aversive stimulus even though the behavior is no longer punished.

Abuse is the unnecessary over-use of punishment when another method is much more effective (the key word here being "effective", i.e., consequences are important). The object is to shape behavior or change it in someway. The method is punishment and/or reinforcement. We know that a method is "abuse" when a method is continuously used ineffectively with NO REGARD FOR CONSEQUENCE (and/or with the intention to cause physical and emotional pain for the mere sake of causing such pain).
on the reverse side, and in accordance with what I've said, I would have to say that giving a child whatever it wants, whenever it wants, no matter how it behaves, with no regard to consequence is abuse, (though some would call it neglect, which is just another word for: abuse, or wrong, or "of uwanted consequence").
[nq:2]Punishment, on a daily basis, saves lives, fortunes, and social ... never had such things, I doubt we'd be alive today.[/nq]
[nq:1]I've aim to avoid telling anyone they're 'wrong'.[/nq]
well, the less you say it, the more effective it will become if and when you find the right time and place to say it.
[nq:2]ahhh! you spell behavior with a "u"! (canadian? english? ausie?)[/nq]
[nq:1]English[/nq]
(you said "nicked" too.) Emotion: smile
[nq:2]but at risk of introducing (by what's been taught by ... basis and that's not always a bad thing! Emotion: smile[/nq]
[nq:1]I've enjoyed our discussion, and happy to continue it Chad.. Thank you. best regards, Marilyn[/nq]
me too!
cheers,
Chad
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