Punishment is reinforcing to the punisher.
Even though punishments are rarely effective, people’s tendency to punish is deeply rooted. The reason behinds it lies in the fact that punishing is a behavior reinforced during extinction burts (see behaviors and consequences). We escalate the punishment until it works, when the punishment works it reinforces us.
If punishment is to be effective, it has to be: immediate, adeqaute, fair, neutral and lead to the interuption of punished behavior. In reality however, it is really hard to achieve that.
Using punishments (P +) in traning may lead to certain problems that may outweight the benefits:
– Punishment does not eliminate an unwanted behavior, it only stops it for a certain period of time Behaviors have their goals and punishment does not make them disappear.
– Using punishments leads to the generalisation of stopping. Punishment does not only stop an unwated behavior it may also lead to the disappearance of desired behaviors. Animals don’t know whether they are going to be punished for next behavior; therefore, they will not improvise or try something new.
– Punishments may lead to emotional disorders (Fear, anger, aggression etc.).
– They may also lead to the avoidance of the source of punishment – places or people who use punishments or are somehowassociated with them.