Positive Punishment

Positive punishment is a term described by B. F. Skinner in his theory of Operant Conditioning. The goal of any type of punishment is to decrease the behavior that it follows.

In the case of positive punishment, it involves presenting an unfavorable outcome or event following an undesirable behavior.

Spanking a child when he throws a tantrum is an example of positive punishment. Another example would be getting pulled over by the police and receiving a ticket for speeding.

A major problem with punishments is that while it might reduce the unwanted behavior, it does not provide any information or instruction on more appropriate reaction or behavior.

While positive punishment has its uses, many experts suggested that other methods of operant conditioning are often more effective for changing behaviors in the short-term and long-term.

Perhaps most importantly, many of these other methods come without the potentially negative consequences of positive punishment.