Reinforcement and Punishment
There are two ways to provide reinforcement (rewards) or punishment. First, the experimenter (or more likely, a parent or teacher) can give the participant (or child) something. Whenever something is given, or added, this is called positive. When something is taken, or subtracted, we use the term negative. Thus, if a teacher gives a child candy for behaving nicely in class, this is positive reinforcement. But if the teacher makes the child clean the blackboards during recess for speaking out in class, this is positive punishment. Note that "positive" and "negative" do not mean "good" and "bad;" they merely indicate whether something was added (positive) or taken away (negative). These terms can be tricky, so take a minute to study the table below.