Posts Tagged ‘positive reinforcement’

Congress Is Suicidal for Lawful Reasons

March 13, 2016

Congress Is Suicidal for Lawful Reasons

If you have not seen my 3/12/16 blog, it is important that you do so in order to understand my concerns addressed in this writing. Yesterday’s blog is entitled “America’s Death by Immigration”.

As the video in this blog shows that Congress is allowing the legal immigration of millions of people yearly.. more than any society on earth can possibly assimilate and financially accommodate without its own destruction.

In the not to-distant future America will be overwhelmed by an avalanche of unsustainable population growth.

While this is exactly the kind of self-defeating behavior that radical liberals, I.e., so-called Progressives are guilty of, it is essential to recognize that this self-destructive flood of legal immigrants has been perpetuated by both Democrats and Republicans.

It should be chilling to note that the mathematical demonstration visually illustrated in yesterday’s video did not include illegal immigrants that have been flooding our borders for years! Again, neither Democrats or Republicans have done anything to stem this flood of immigrants.

Any fool should know that no society can continue this pattern without destroying itself in due time. Therefore, nothing about this Congressional suicidal behavior pattern makes any sense.

Or, does it?

There is an old saying: “If you do not understand some social/political event, follow the money!”

While I am certain that big money is wrapped-up in America’s obviously suicidal immigration policies, there is more to this “clinical” picture. Perhaps we could alter the “old saying” in order to more clearly see some significant components of the dynamics of America’s own doom by immigration.

Try this: “If you do not understand some social/political event, follow the growth or maintenance of money and political power!

There are likely other factors involved and a full explanation is almost certainly more complex than the one I am presenting. However, I believe the following factors are powerful motivating factors that are being overlooked by a large proportion of America’s electorate.

It is politically axiomatic that the party who supports immigration and free stuff for immigrants, legal or not, will gain the votes of this population and is therefore more likely to stay in power longer. The longer politicians stay in power, generally, the more wealthy they become and the more power they can accumulate and wield to keep this positive self-feeding cycle going. This can be viewed as a powerful multifaceted cycle of positively reinforced behavior that is very beneficial to politicians in the short-term and intermediate future.

But what about the party that is “out-of-power”? That is, the party whose politicians that may not control the Presidency and/or Congress. One might naively think that they would put-a-stop to America’s crazy immigration policies. Yet, this is not what has happened.

So, as usual, B.S. walks and behavior talks!

It would appear that the minority political parties, through time, understand very well that if they oppose the crazy immigration policies, they will loose votes and with that will come the fear of ever again regaining the lead power position over their competition. The out-0f-power party is primarily concerned with escaping and/or avoiding the loss of voters and so does little or nothing to stem the increasingly lethal flood of immigrants into America.

Technically speaking, the motivational forces of both positive and negative reinforcement are intricately involved in Congress’s amazingly self defeating behavior.

There is at least one more factor that I hinted at near the beginning of this writing. The positive and negative reinforcement (escape) and the avoidance of the loss of positive reinforcers (votes and power) occur in the very near and intermediate future for the politicians. This means that they will more powerfully control the behaviors of the politicians.

Regrettably, the aversive or punishing consequences that will arrive as consequences for voters tolerating such irresponsible behaviors by their political representatives will build gradually and they will first impact other distant sections of society (I.e., “its happening to someone else”). Another component of this lethal trap for America is that the aversive/punishing consequences of these political actions will impact a greater proportion of our citizens in the distant future, a distant future that does not control population behavior very well in the present!

Scientifically validated principles of human behavior are like nuclear energy. They can he harnessed for great good or mismanaged with calamitous results.

The longer politicians remain in office, the more power they accumulate, the wealthier they become and the more prone they are to crony capitalism.

An important step in the direction of reducing these governmental destructive tendencies will be to impose term-limits on Congressional politicians.

V. Thomas Mawhinney, Ph.D., 3/13/16



Influencing Behavior: Rewarding Consequences and Values

January 27, 2011

Influencing Behavior: Rewarding Consequences and Values

Thanks to Bruce Bryner for sending this wonderful video collection to me.  It best illustrates that human behavior is controlled by consequences. This is one  of psychology’s major Laws. It further illustrates that using rewards (positive reinforcers as consequences for behavior that we wish to see happen more often in the future is the way to go).

Beyond this, the traffic control videos show that for some behaviors, a combination of punishment for infractions and rewards for compliance are needed. It should be known that the over-use of punishment without strong rewards for incompatible behavior normally has bad outcomes for the punished and the punisher.

Finally, all tapes illustrate that to implement systematic consequences that will influence behaviors in desirable ways, it is necessary for groups or sociocultures to organize themselves around common values and morals (i.e., it is good to follow speed limits it is bad to speed; it is good to put trash in its proper receptacles; it is bad to pollute the environment; etc.).

Want some fun?

What to see some ways to help ourselves behave better by having fun?

Watch the following videos.

V. Thomas Mawhinney, Ph.D.

Government Control: Positive Reinforcement

April 24, 2010

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

America Must Teach With Positive Reinforcement

December 12, 2009

America Must Teach With Positive Reinforcement

The Law of Effect simply states: Behavior is controlled by its consequences.

The following is another demonstration of how Positive Reinforcement can be used to teach astonishing tricks to relatively dumb animals. If  a lowly rat can learn to “play basketball”, think what humanity– through the teaching of its children–can learn!

The overwhelming mass of scientific evidence is that children learn best through positive reinforcement based methods.

The nice thing about using what most people call rewards to teach all animals (humans especially), rather than punishment, is that it leaves people wanting to do the learned behaviors more often, liking the teacher,  enjoying the teaching process, and very happy to learn more.

I thank my colleague Darrel Bostow, Ph.D., sending this wonderful video to me. Please click the following URL for a unique and entertaining educational experience.

More teaching with positive reinforcement  America!  Let’s do it with our children and with ourselves!

V. Thomas Mawhinney, Ph.D.   12/12/09

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