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Kendra Cherry

Punishment - Psychology Definition of the Week

By August 12, 2011

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Definition: Punishment is an important part of B. F. Skinner's theory operant conditioning. According to Skinner, punishment involves applying a stimulus after a behavior in order to reduce likelihood that the behavior will occur again in the future.

People often confuse punishment with negative reinforcement. One of the easiest ways to remember the difference between the two is to note that punishment always involves reducing a behavior while negative reinforcement always involves increasing a behavior.

Learn more about this concept including the types, effectiveness and potential drawbacks in this definition of punishment.

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