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In this graph from Luce et al.

(1980), a positive punishment procedure called contingent exercise


reduced the aggresive behavior of a 6 year old boy. This is an A-B-A-B research design, in which the
baseline and treatment conditions are implemented twice.

Negative punishment has also been the subject of extensive research. Two examples of negative
punishment are time out from positive reinforcement and response cost. (See chapter 17 for more
detail). Both involve the loss of a reinforcing stimulus or activity after the occurrence of a problem
behavior. Some students may confuse negative punishment and extinction. They both weaken
behavior. Extinction involves withholding the reinforcer that was maintaining the behavior. Negative
punishment, by contrast, involves removing or withdrawing a positive reinforcer after the behavior,
the reinforcer that is removed in negative punishment is one the individual had already acquired and
is not necessarily the same reinforcer that was maintaining the behavior. For example, Johnny
interrupts his parents and behavior is reinforved by his parents attention. (They scold him each time
he interrupts) in this case, extinction would involve withholding the parents attention each time
Johnny interrupts. Negative punishment would involve the loss of some other reinforcer such as
allowance money or the opportunity to watch TV each time he interrupted. Both procedures would
result in a decrease in the frequency of interrupting.

Clark, Rowbury, Baer, and Baer (1973) used time out to decrease aggresive and disruptive behavior
in an 8 year old girl with Down syndrome. In time out, the person is removed from a reinforcing
situation for a brief period of time after the problem behavior occurs. Each time the girl engaged in
the problem behavior in the classroom, she had to sit by herself in a small time out room for 3
minutes. As a result of time out, her problem behaviors decreased immediately (Figure 6-2). Through
the use of time out, the problem behavior was followed by the loss of access to attention (social
reinforcement) from the teacher and other reinforcers in the classroom (Figure 6-3).

In this graph from Clark et al. (1973), you can see the effect of a negative punishment procedure
(time out) on the aggressive and disruptive behavior of a young girl with Down syndrome. This graph
illustrates a multiple baseline across behavior design. Time out was implemented for three different
behaviors of one subject, and the use of time out was staggered over time.

In a study by Phillips, Fixsen, and Wolf (1971), “predelinquent” youths in a residential treatment
program earned points for enganging in appropriate behavior and traded in their points for backup
reinforcers such as snacks, money, and privileges. The points were conditioned reinforcers. The
researchers then used a negative punishment procedure called response cost to decrease late
arrivals for supper. When the youths arrived late, the lost some of the points they had earned. As a
result, late arrivals decreased until the youths always showed up on time.
This 8 year old child has to sit in the small time out room by herself each time she enganges in
aggressive behavior in the classroom. By sitting in the time out room, she loses access to such
reinforcers as teacher attention, attention from other students, and toys. As a result, she aggressive
behavior decreases.

Positive punishment and negative punishment sometimes are called other names, which are more
descriptive. However, it is simpler to speak of postive punishment and negative punishment, and
these terms are parallel with positive reinforcement and negative reinforcement.

Look at the examples of punishment in Table 6-1. Which are examples of positive punishment and
which are negative punishment? Answer are provided at the end of the chapter in Appendix A.

In all of these examples, the process resulted in a decrease in the future occurrence of the behavior.
Therefore, in each example, the presentation or removal of a stimulus as a consequence of the
behavior functioned aa punishment.

Other names for positive punishment :

1. Punishment by application
2. Punishment by contingent presentation of a stimulus
3. Punishment by presentation of an aversive stimulus
4. Response contingent presentation of a punisher

Other names for negative punishment :

1. Punishment by withdrawal
2. Punishment by loss of reinforcers
3. The penalty contingency
4. Response contingent removal of a positive reinforcer
Or a look of disapproval may be a conditioned punisher when it is a associated with the loss of
attention or approval from an important person (such as parent or teacher). A facial expression may
also be associated with an aversive event such as a scolding or a spanking and thus may function as a
conditioned punisher (Doleys, Wells, Hobbs, Roberts, & Cartelli, 1976; Jones & Miller, 1974).

Once again, it is important to remember that a conditioned punisher is defined functionally. It is


defined as a punisher only if it weakens the behavior that it follows. If a person exceeds the speed
limit and receives a speeding ticket and the outcome is that the person is less likely to speed in the
future, the ticket functioned as a punisher. However, if the person continues to speed after receiving
a ticket, the ticket was not a punisher. Consider the following example.