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A classroom for discussing SkinnersLaw.

This is a member of CategoryVirtualClassroom.

How does leaving bad behavior unpenalized/non-rewarded encourage the reduction of bad behavior? If you merely reward good behavior but leave out the punishment... then those who like the bad behavior will keep doing it. They gain their rewards for doing so from their own internal motivations.

This is the problem with many criminals. They gain rewards from their criminal activity. Such as rushes from stealing something, or ego boosts from conning someone, etc etc etc. Even though the 'law abiders' see them being caught and punished as the 'stick' to their behavior, it's not soon enough... they have already gained their personal carrot from that behavior, and therefore the punishment (stick) factor is meaningless to their future behavior.

(Hey, I was just curious... and I thought I'd add to the Goggle hit list for Skinners Law. :-D)


I love it StarPilot==== At least we are HavingFun. We can question the results, but until we have different results we must accept that bad behavior if unrewarded will go away. -- JimScarver ====

Humm... well, I agree with the concept. In a Good is Rewarded, Non-Good is not system, then obviously this creates an 'attractor' for Good, and in enough time (in a stable system), the Good behavior should be the only behavior system-wide.

My issue is that I did not agree with some presumptions/set ups. :D Such as: How to get rid of the Bad behavior as applied to Humans, in particular Human Criminals. Criminals do what they do because of their internal motivations and internal rewards. I'm not a criminal. The threat of the loss of my personal freedom (due to incarceration for behaving very badly) is something I take seriously. But for criminals, that's only a possible future. If they steal that thing/con that person/rape that girl/whatever, they get their reward immediately, from themselves.

You cannot house train a puppy by punishing it for piddling in the corner three days after it has done so. The puppy will not make the connection. The punishment has to happen while the past event you are trying to negatively reinforce is still fresh enough in the mind of individual that they will associate the act with stick... otherwise, no behavioral modifications will take place. They just try to avoid you more often. :-)

In small communities, they forced cooperation by negative social feedback (embarrassment). Study human groups, and you can see this in action, particularly in groupings where social position/group awareness is magnified (such as teenagers). As social beings, this is a very powerful force upon us, and combines Carrot/Reward with Stick/Punishment behavior.


The threat of punishment only works for non-criminals. Carrying out punishment makes criminals. Punishing an animal never gets good results. Cowboys may beat horses but it just makes them bad hourses. I'm guilty of punishing my puppies dispite the knowledge that it does no good. Negative reinforsment never elicits desired behaivior it only inhibits certain behaivior in your presents. With children and animals your dissapointment is much more effective than your anger. Punishment elicits defensivness and retaliation. Criminals are bad children, we should deal with their antisocial mental illness like any other desease though we must protect ourselves from their actions. Punishment just makes them worse criminals. Don't believe what you want to believe, look at the data. Positive feedback works. Negative feedback backfires. No competant animal trainer punishes animals for good reason. We should treat ourselves as well as we treat DumbAnimals and do what works.

re: Dumb Animals?

Ah, but for people who are coerced by the long term reality of punishment, we need to punish all criminals. So, we need to determine a foolproof way to determine if you are just emotionally stunted (A small child in an adult body), mentally ill, or playing the odds then. And if it isn't fool proof, it will be min/maxed to the max.

So, how do we reach that point? I cooperate/play by the larger societal rules for one of two reasons: either I have no reason to disagree with the rule, or it isn't worth the long term risk of breaking the rule versus my long term gain. I accept the consenquences of my actions, therefore I understand that breaking the rules means risking the societal punishment for doing so.

Am I 25% that is coerced by society to obey its rules that I don't agree with? ;-)


See also: SkinnersLaw, EvolutionaryGameTheory, OneHundredMonkeys, GoldenRule, GoodAndEvil

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