Psychology Punishment and Reward

Good Essays
Punishment and Reward
Kathryn Brady
538/PSYCH
September 12, 2010
Jacqueline Peterson

How behavior is selected, reinforced, and motivated is an essential question in psychology. What makes a behavior more likely than a different behavior? There is a lack of agreement among psychologists as to what processes create behavior. The descriptions of motivation are varied and the process by which motivation is created is firmly rooted in two distinct camps: extrinsic motivation and intrinsic motivation. “The concept of intrinsic motivation is distinctively illustrated by… a well-demonstrated experiential state of ecstasy, pleasure, or satisfaction that occurs during the performance of tasks that represent the matching of demand and skill “ (Marr, para

4, 2000). According to Alfie Kohn in 1995, Rewards and punishments are both ways of manipulating behavior. They are two forms of doing things to students. And to that extent, all of the research that says it 's counterproductive to say to students, "Do this or here is what I 'm going to do to you," also applies to saying, "Do this and you 'll get that." (Brandt, 1995, p.1). Mr. Kohn believes that rewarding students for learning things that they are inherently interested in learning on their own is counterproductive to the learning experience. “The more kids are induced to do something for a reward, whether tangible or verbal, the more you see a diminution of interest the next time they do it” (Brandt, 1995, p.1). By using the things that students love as “levers” to get them to perform –much like pets which we train to be obedient with treats- the enjoyment of the reward diminishes and serves as a manipulative tool. Mr. Kohn is not alone in his opinion about rewards working more as punishment to the intrinsic motivation we all possess to satisfy our curiosity and expand our knowledge-base as people. According to Hall (2009), using rewards as motivation for behavior does nothing to change

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