Almost everybody sometimes feels dissatisfaction with somebody or even their behavior. As for me, I often postpone important things that should be done as soon as possible. Procrastination is that kind of unfavorable behavior that I would not mind extinguishing. I suppose that in that case, reinforcement would be more effective than punishment because punishment has remarkable adverse effects and sometimes contradicts ethical principles.
There are different techniques to modify unpleasant behavior. In case of procrastination, positive reinforcers, such as praises, or rewards will help strengthen the behavior when the task is performed immediately without being postponed. For example, I can give myself little presents or put badges on a makeshift scoreboard. Negative reinforcers work toward the exclusion of adverse events or conditions (Cherry, 2020). In light of the stated problem, that technique could not be used because it is impossible to stop doing the tasks assigned to me. As for punishment, both positive and negative methods could be used to fight my procrastination, but I need somebody’s help to do it effectively. I think that I have to delegate punishment acts to my friends or family because I know that I will not do it myself. However, the punishment method application could spoil my relationship with the punisher. Compared to reinforcement, punishment is less effective because it provokes aggressive behavior, unwelcome emotional side effects, and avoidance behavior (Martin & Pear, 2019). Punishment has many pitfalls and fails to establish new habits because it works only towards suppressing old ones.
The thoughts of punishment evoke feelings of resentment and raise ethical questions. According to Martin and Pear (2019), people often react negatively to managing their behavior: which is rooted in our cultural history. Punishment is seen as a mechanical and cold approach that should be avoided. Hence in terms of ethics, behavior modification programs should establish friendly interactions between individuals.
I believe that I need to turn to the reinforcement method to modify my undesirable behavior pattern. It seems to be rather simple to follow because I can perform it myself without the interaction of somebody to control. In addition, reinforcement does not have pitfalls such as punishment’s method and does not contradict ethical principles.
Cherry, K. (2020). What is operant conditioning and how does it work? How reinforcement and punishment modify behavior. Verywell Mind. Web.
Martin, G., & Pear, J. (2019). Behavior modification: What it is and how to do it. (11th ed.). Routledge.