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Edited by: Published: 2018
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Punishment is a consequence that decreases the frequency of a given behavior. Understanding of punishment is important for effective classroom management and promoting student motivation. This entry discusses types of punishment, the use of punishment in schools, research on the efficacy of punishment for changing behavior, and strategies for the effective use of punishment.

Researchers in the behaviorist tradition classify punishments as either positive or negative. In positive punishment, a stimulus is added; in negative punishment, a stimulus is removed. Spankings, lectures, or failing grades are examples of positive punishment because a stimulus is being added. Monetary fines and removal of privileges (e.g., no television for a week) are examples of negative punishment because a stimulus is being removed as a consequence of behavior.

Common punishment ...

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