When it comes to self-care, positivity is our inexhaustible resource for enjoying, progressing, and simply carrying on with our lives. It’s strange to consider that positivity itself could have an impact that is anything other than positive but can it?
Here’s where reinforcement comes in, and the argument on whether positive or negative works better. Before we can explore this common but complex question, let’s question what it is that we’re reinforcing in the first place.
In some cases, this is referred to as a system, but with transparency, it is the act of manipulating or provoking a desired behavioral response from an individual. We may observe this act both subtly and candidly in settings all throughout our lives. However, it is most often verbally strategized in relation to work or education settings.
The question is: Does making a person suffer work better in controlling their behavior, or does reward them?
Positive vs Negative Reinforcement
You may remember a time or times in your life where either of these techniques was inflicted upon you to get you to do something. It may have been a parent, a teacher, a boss, or even a partner. Do you remember if you felt forced into action, or entered willingly? Do you know what action was desired of you, is it possible that you were totally unaware?
You may be able to identify in any, which of these might work best on you as an individual. The truth is, in any given situation, there are a variety of factors.
What is the desired result? What is the subject’s baseline temperament? How have they responded to other stimuli? How does the desired result compare with the current state? What means of intimidation or incentive are being used, and for what purpose?
Another factor to consider is exactly when these techniques are being applied. Negative reinforcement may generally work well to provoke primary jolts of desired responses, but over time it may lead to feelings of helplessness or resentment. This may hinder long term results. Positive reinforcement over time may work better for sustainable results, but the additional factors involved make it difficult to say.
It might be safe to infer that when determining which type of reinforcement to apply to a situation, the specific combination of factors at hand should be considered and evaluated.
Based on your experience, what has worked better? Join the GR8NESS poll.