what is positive punishment? I dont quite understand it.

If my kid curses, and I am inclined (I am not BTW) I might smack her in the face. I have applied a punishment. She has a smack. 5 seconds ago, she didn’t have one. Now she does. The application (plus) is what makes it positive. If I instead grounded her (took away privileges) that would be negative punishment.

The main challenge in mastering this is using your big, awesome frontal lobes to stop yourself from going to the positive = good/negative = bad thing in this context. In Operant Conditioning the positive and negative are like + and - in mathematics. Really.

Finally, of course the smack will stop her from cursing.

In front of me.

When I am not around, she’ll be swearing like a sailor with her friends.


This is the problem with punishment.

Positive punishment is an attempt to influence behavior by adding something unpleasant, while negative reinforcement is an attempt to influence behavior by taking away something unpleasant.

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