Operant Conditioning: Positive or Negative Punishment?

1. Jamie spanks his child for playing in the street.


2. An “A” on exam that you studied real hard for.


3. Brie cleans her room to keep her parents off her back.


4. Getting a paycheck.


5. Reducing anxiety by smoking a cigarette.


6. Embarrassing a student for giving a wrong answer.


7. Taking an aspirin to relieve a headache


8. Receiving a hug from your parents after throwing a temper tantrum.


9. Using a condom to reduce the risk of STDs.


10. A patient in a mental hospital is very disruptive at mealtimes. She grabs food

from the plates of those sitting near her and tries to cram the food into her mouth.

Because this behavior of stealing food is very undesirable and needs to stop

immediately, a plan is developed whereby every time the patient steals food from

other plates, she is immediately taken to a room without food.


11. Lindsay wasn’t doing well in her 6th grade math class. Her teacher told her parents that Lindsay handed in less than 50% of her assignments. Her parents told Lindsay that any day on which she did not hand in her homework she would be sent to bed right after dinner. As a result of this threat, Lindsay has handed in her assignment 97% of the time.

12. In order to receive his allowance Jake cleans up his room regularly.

13. Greg does not go to the dentist every 6 months for a check-up. Instead, he waited until a tooth really hurts, then goes to the dentist. After 2 emergency trips to the dentist, Greg now goes to the dentist every 6 months like he should.


14. After Cassie flirted with someone else at the party, her boyfriend stopped talking to her. Cassie didn’t flirt at the next party.


15. The annoying student jumps up and down, hand raised, yelling “me, me, me!”

until the teacher calls on her. The child jumps and yells even more in the future.


16. Police randomly stop drivers and give tickets to those who are not wearing their seat belts; as a result of this program seat belt use increases in town.