Government Control: Positive Reinforcement


Government Control: Positive Reinforcement

Scientists describe the reinforcement of a behavior by the contingent presentation of some consequence (presentation of a stimulus) as being positive reinforcement. For example, if the room is too dark, we turn the light on (behavior) and there is more light (consequence/stimulus presented). If it is too cold, we turn up the heat (behavior) and we experience the increased warmth (consequence/stimulus presented). If it is boring, we call a friend (behavior) and we enjoy the conversation (consequence/stimulus presented). Most examples of positive reinforcement involve consequences that most of us would consider pleasant or “positive in nature”. However the term positive reinforcement only means that something is “added” following a behavior and the behavior was strengthened. You and I may not think that a particular consequence is “good or nice”. But, what we think is “good” is not relevant, as in the case of the masochist who enjoys pain.

All that matters is that someone behaved, a consequence was presented, and they did the behavior more often in the future. It would then be an example of positive reinforcement.

Governments control financial and other material positive reinforcers which they can give to citizens contingent upon their doing what the government wants they to do. In this case, rates of  the individual and of the population doing what the government wants then to do are likely to increase in frequency.

Sometimes this may benefit the socioculture,  such as when the government provides tax deductions or credits for starting a new business, inventing things,  conserving energy,  staying home to raise children, doing volunteer work, or making financial contributions to charities, etc.

Sometime Governments reinforce bad behavior and in doing so it gain the allegiance of voters to extend the governments power. When this happens the governments immediate gains are at the cost of delayed catastrophe.  Examples of such reinforcement contingencies are the provision of tax moneys for those who are capable of working, but do not; the provision of tax monies, housing, vouchers or other benefits to those who have children out-of-wedlock; providing random cash benefits to those who gamble; providing legalized recreational drugs for those who like to get high;  mandating the provision of high risk housing loans to those who cannot pay their mortgages, or allocating monies and advantages to populations within cities that riot, or providing cash and material benefits to illegal aliens, etc.

Any time the government positively reinforces industrious, competent, independent, and prosocial behavior within its population,  it is doing good things and strengthening its  socioculture’s viability.

Any time the government positively reinforces lazy, dishonest,  irresponsible, addictive,  various forms of lawlessness, aggression and  insurrection, it is doing bad things and weakening its socioculture’s viability.

V. Thomas Mawhinney, Ph.D.   4/24/10

Tags: , , , ,

7 Responses to “Government Control: Positive Reinforcement”

  1. Government Control: Positive Reinforcement | Cultural Survival Skills Says:

    Hans Casement

    Government Control: Positive Reinforcement Scientists describe the reinforcement of a behavior by the contingent presentation of some consequence (presentation of a stimulus) as being positive reinforcement. For example, if the room is too dark, we tur…

    Like

  2. Daniele Warrilow Says:

    Great web site. Lots of useful information here. I am sending it to several friends ans also sharing in delicious. And naturally, thanks for your effort!

    Like

    • vtmawhinney Says:

      Thank you Daniele, I deeply appreciate your support. I hope you will visit often and comment as you Please. Tom

      Like

    • vtmawhinney Says:

      Daniele, I certainly appreciate that you are helping me spread the word! I hope you will visit my site often and comment as you wish! Blessings, Tom

      Like

  3. Mozell Logie Says:

    Hello there, I found your website via Google whilst looking for a comparable topic, your website came up, it seems to be good. I have bookmarked it in my google bookmarks.

    Like

  4. Alfonso Singler Says:

    hi!,I like your writing so much! share we communicate more about your post on AOL? I need an expert on this area to solve my problem. Maybe that’s you! Looking forward to see you.

    Like

  5. priness cut diamond engagement rings Says:

    Thanks very nice blog!

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: