Positive, not negative reinforcement

  • Letters
  • Friday, 04 Jan 2019

MOST people know that negative measures seldom produce the required results or behaviour. Parents, teachers, police, all can testify to this universal trait of Homo sapiens.

While deterrents do constrain some undesirable actions, seldom do we use positive actions to achieve good behaviour.

Can we consider some positive reinforcement to ensure people don’t smoke in eateries? For example, how about giving a 10% discount to regular smokers who refrain from lighting up during their meals?

The details could be worked out in different ways. Perhaps you could have the smokers leave their lighters/cigarette packs at the cashier’s counter and they can get the 10% discount when paying for their meals.


Department of Physiology,

Faculty of Medicine

Universiti Malaya


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