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what is negative punishment

In operant conditioning, punishment is any change in a human or animal’s surroundings that occurs after a given behavior or response which reduces the likelihood of that behavior occurring again in the future.

As with reinforcement, it is the behavior, not the animal, that is punished. Whether a change is or is not punishing is determined by its effect on the rate that the behavior occurs, not by any “hostile” or aversive features of the change. For example, a painful stimulus which would act as a punisher for most people may actually reinforce some behaviors of masochistic individuals.