Throughout my college education I have learned a great deal about the concept of reinforcements and punishments. I understand that reinforcements increase the likelihood of a behavior, whereas punishments decrease the likelihood that a behavior with reoccur. However, reinforcements can be either positive or negative so long as they increase the likelihood of a certain behavior to occur. These concepts are great to know as we get older because it enables us to develop the idea that certain things have good or bad consequences. For example, if I was trying to teach my dog a new trick then I would reward her with a treat each time she did as she was instructed (i.e positive reinforcement). However, if my dog were to ignore me or get out of line then she would not receive the treat that had been originally presented ( I.e negative punishment). On the other hand, negative reinforcement would be if a parent were to take away a house hold chore as a reward for doing all of the other chores they were asked to do. One final example for positive punishment would be a parent spanking their child when they throw a tantrum. In this instance, the spanking is the thing being added to the mix in order to make the behavior (a tantrum) less likely to reoccur.
As we come to understand the difference between positive and negative reinforcement as well as positive and negative punishments, we will be more capable of influencing certain behaviors within others as a result. This concept also enables individuals to show others that actions come with consequences and that good motives often get rewarded, just as bad motives often come at a cost. Positive and negative punishments and reinforcements can be used in a variety of ways. For example, they can be used as a parent, within the classroom, as well as in the work place! An article that I found by Courtney E Ackerman illustrates a wide variety of ways in which these tactics can be used in different ways to produce the best results! Incentives tie into this concept of reinforcements and punishments because the incentive being presented in order to elicit a positive response must be desirable enough for an individual to go along with what is being asked of them. For example, if a parent wants their child to finish all of their homework before watching TV then they might provide the child with the reward of watching tv for a longer period of time, so long as they complete their assignments in a timely manner after school. Without a quality incentive, reinforcements may not always be successful. Therefore, it seems crucial for individuals to come up with specific and quality incentives in order to achieve their reinforcement efforts.
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