Q. 3 (b). Differentiate between positive and negative types of reinforcements and punishment. Describe how these could be applied to enforce putting on the seat belt while driving. 15 marks. CSE 2018

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  1. Reinforcement, be it positive or negative leads to increase in the frequency of a particular behaviour. Positive reinforcement is when something pleasant (for eg. A reward, a bonus etc.) is added which increases the likelihood of a response in future. For example, when a child works hard in every exam because it fetches him an A grade, then his behaviour is positively reinforced.

    Whereas Negative reinforcement is when a particular behaviour is performed in order to escape, avoid or get rid of an aversive stimulus or situation. For example, parents give in to child’s tantrums to stop him from crying.

    On the other hand, Punishment, be it positive or negative results in a decrease in the frequency of a particular behaviour.

    Positive punishment is when an unpleasant stimulus (e.g. pain, insult etc) is added or introduced in order to decrese the likelihood of a behaviour in future. For example, slapping a child whenever he throws temper tantrums classifies as positive punishment if it eventually results in decrease in the incidences of tantrums.

    Whereas Negative punishment is when a pleasant stimulus is withdrawn which results in a feeling of dismay and reduces the likelihood of the particular behaviour. For example, stopping the pocket money of an adolescent whenever he returns late can be called as negative punishment if it results in reduction in the incidences of returning late.

    Putting on the seat belt while driving can be reinforced through:

    1. Postive reinforcement, by praising a person whenever he puts on the seat belt while driving.

    2. Negative reinforcement, by introducing a loud alarm bell whenever a person attempts to drive without the seat belt on.

    3. Positive punishment, by imposing a fine whenever a person is caught driving without the seat belt on.

    4. Negative punishment, by a warning to cancel the driving liscence whenever the person is caught driving without the seat belt on.

  2. Reinforcement and punishment are stimuli which increase and decrease the frequency of response respectively. These concepts are related to the learning of voluntary responses.



    Strengthening a desirable response by adding pleasant stimulus.

    Ex: Giving a child treat for good manners.


    strengthening a desirable response by removing pleasant stimulus.

    Ex: Employees coming on time to avoid getting yelled at by manager.


    Weakening an undesirable response by adding an unpleasant stimulus.

    Ex: Jail term for crime.


    Weakening an undesirable response by removing a pleasant stimulus.

    Ex: Not allowing child to watch TV if he doesn’t study.


    These principles can be applied in different ways as given below to enforce the habit of putting on seat belt while driving.


    Giving discount coupons of oil filling stations to compliant drivers.


    Allowing compliant drivers to use a fast clearance lane at toll booths while others wait in que.


    Imposing fines on errant drivers.


    Suspending drivers license of errant drivers.

    In general, reinforcements work better than punishments. So drivers who use seat belts should be rewarded who will act as MODELS for other drivers.

  3. Positive reinforcements are pleasant and rewarding experiences which increase the probability of occurence of behaviour.
    For example to rewarding a student with good grade(reinforcement) motivates him/her to work harder(behaviour) in studies.

    Negative reinforcements are noxious or painful by nature which increase probability of occurence of behaviour to escape from them.
    Child studying for exams to escape being scolded by his mother is example of negative reinforcement.

    Punishments are also part of operant conditioning that reduce  the probability of occurence of behaviour.

    Positive punishments are those where behaviour is coupled with unpleasant event to discourage individual from performing such act.
    Spanking child for his tauntrums is an example of positive punishment

    Negative punishments reduce the occurrence of behaviour by removing the positive stimulus in the situation.
    Taking away car from his son during strike, father can stop him from leaving home.

    Operant conditioning can be applied to individual to enforce fastening seat belt during driving in following ways.
    1. Rewarding people who follow it regularly(positive reinforcement)
    2. Belt buzzer fixed which motivates person to fasten his seat belt to escape from unpleasant sound.
    3. Punishing people who don’t follow rules by fining them.(punishment)
    4. Cancelling license for not wearing seat belt(Negative punishment)

    1. Answer is appropriate but the points in second part of the answer need brief elaboration.
      Try to give different examples from real life as most of the students have given the same examples.

  4. Reinforcement is anything which is provided after a response in order to strengthen the response.
    Where as , Punishment is provided to weaken the response .

    Reinforcement is of two types;
    A. Positive
    B. Negative

    A. Positive reinforcement includds adding something to subject to increase frequency of that response.
    e.g Remarking child with praise words like good to increase his habit of writing.
    B. Negative reinforcement refers to removing an undesirable situation or object to strengthen the response.
    e.g- making sanitary napkins tax free

    Punishment is segregated as follows;

    A. Positive punishment- is adding unpleasant situation to weaken the response.
    e.g-extra writing task to child who doesn’t do homework frequently

    B. Negative punishment- is removing pleasant situation to weaken the response.
    e.g- cancellation of sports period of a nuisance creating class.

    For reinforcing seat belt driving we can use;
    A. Positive reinforcement- drivers will get free shopping coupons

    B. Negative reinforcement- drivers will get rebate in toll tax

    For punishing non seat belt drivers;
    A. Positive punishment- hefty fine will be charged.

    B. Negative punishment- license will ceased for a day.

    In this way , B.F Skinner’s principles of reinforcement and punishment can be used to shape the behaviour, reducing bad habits, good habit formation and better learning in life.

  5. Skinner defined Reinforcement as anything that when following a response leads to increase in happening of that event again.
    1.(a) Positive reinforcement involves the addition of a pleasurable consequence whereas the Negative reinforcement involve the removal or escape from something unpleasant – both increase the likelihood of that event being repeated.
    For ex. Sara learned that talking in english gets her lots of attention form her classmates,so now she talks that way often -positive reinforcement. While
    From the very childhood we learn to wear woolen clothes in winter to avoid unpleasant weather -negative reinforcement.
    (b).positive reinforcement means something valued or desirable like rewards,pat on thr back,getting money,food etc whereas negative reinforcement means something unpleasant like people get addicted to avoif pain.
    2.Punishment suppress a response or we can say that it is opposite to reinforcement
    # positive punishment means addition of something unpleasant for ex.-scolding for disobeying.
    ## Negative punishment involves the punishment of behaviour by tye removal of something pleasurable after the behaviour occurs.
    For ex. Grounding a teenager is removing tye freedom to what the teenage wants to do.
    3.Now negative punishement can be applied to enforce the traffic rules like putting seat belt while driving by fining .here removing money is negative punishment .
    Also by giving small reward to those who follow this rule is the application of positive reinforcement. And we make them people aware by wearing seat belt to avoid getting injured in the case of accident is a kind of negative reinforcement.

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