Tag Archive for 'misrepresentation'

Another mistake on NR

Here’s another oopsie on “negative reinforcement.” This one is from a site that’s discussing the application of behavioral principles for the business environment, so it’s a little afield for us, but I’m throwing it into the pot anyway. At least it shows that it is not only we educators who make this mistake. In the article, the author N. Nayab (edited J. Scheid) gets several things right, but makes the usual confusion between negative reinforcement and punishment:

Skinner’s behavior modification theory holds that reinforcement, either positive, or negative shapes behavior. Providing positive reinforcement for changing behavior to desired levels through appropriate and effective rewards, and or providing negative reinforcement such as punishments or discouraging signals for undesired changes in behavior, or sticking to status quo helps employees make the appropriate behavior modifications.
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Wrong about negative reinforcement

I was happy to note that several students in the first meeting of my introductory class this term knew that negative reinforcement does not mean punishment. Sadly, I happened to come across another example of folks perpetuating that very misinformation.

Over on wiseGEEK, a relatively long-standing Internet source that provides answers to questions, there is an article that addresses the question, “What is behavior management?” Hey, it caught my eye!

Behavior management is a type of behavior therapy that aims to control negative actions by preserving a level of order and direction. This approach to dealing with behavior change is largely practiced by those working in the field of education, specifically those who work with special needs children. Behavior management is employed to better help individuals or groups make positive, healthy behavioral choices.

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B mod NOT

In one more example of the mis-representation of “behavior modification,” another of those facilities aimed to serve (not the right word?) children and youths with behavior that their parents find unacceptable has been identified as a “behavior modification facility. Tranquility Bay, more accurately characterized as an extremely strict re-education camp, is the subject of a documentary. It is one of the schools affiliated with the World Wide Association Of Specialty Programs and Schools (WWASPS), a group that has had facilities closed because their methods were inhumane (see example of a story from New York Times appended here).
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