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Punishment: Definition and Efficacy

Thus, as Kagan and Havemann (109) note, the use of punishment leads to operant avoidance and the development of a desired behavior or, in non-experimental conditions, extinction of an undesirable behavior.

Similar experiments have been conducted using human subjects. Stanley Milgram used an experimental condition to examine the degree to which a person would willingly administer a punishing electric shock; Milgram∆s focus was on obedience to authority, but his laboratory research demonstrated that for many people, the willingness to use harsh physical punishment is itself a result of conditioning toward obedience (Cardwell 14 Ż 16).

Other experiments in the behavioral sciences and in the laboratory have tested the degree to which negative versus positive reinforcement (including physical punishments as well as time-outs and so forth) succeed in fostering behavioral changes (Coleman 148 Ż149). Coleman (211) noted that individuals subjected to excessive punishment (physical or psychological) during childhood and adolescence often develop severe neuroses, anxieties, phobias, and even psychoses as a result of maltreatment. This psychologist noted that disciplinary tactics or strategies that are excessive, brutal, and frightening can have a reverse effect; they can foster aggression and anger in the recipient, leading to the establis


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Punishment: Definition and Efficacy. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 00:29, October 23, 2014, from
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