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The Personality Puzzle 8th Edition

The Personality Puzzle (8th Edition)

Book Edition8th Edition
PublisherW. W. Norton

Chapter 14, End of Chapter, Think About It, Exercise 1

Page 552


The argument(s) for behaviors being dependent on recompense and punishments is as follows:

  • Rewards are pleasant things, and it is people's nature to desire pleasant experiences. As a result, when a behavior is rewarded, it tends to increase. For instance, if a child cleans their room and is rewarded with their favorite chocolate, the desire to obtain more chocolates enables them to perform the same behavior repeatedly. Punishments are aversive, and one seeks to avoid anything aversive. For instance, consider that a child is scolded for being impolite to the guests at home. This is hurtful, humiliating, and embarrassing for the child. For this reason, the child strives to avoid being scolded again. and is not impolite with guests who visit their house. Their impolite behavior is either reduced or eliminated as a result of punishment.
  • Psychologist B.F.S.'s experiments with animals also lent credence to the assumption that rewards make a behavior more likely to take place. In their experiment with animals, when behavior was followed by rewards, the animal tended to perform that behavior again in the hope of rewards.

The argument(s) for not all behaviors being dependent on recompense and punishments is as follows:

  • Psychologist A.B. contends that human beings and animals can learn by observation as well, that is, by watching others perform a behavior and imitating them. For instance, songbirds tend to learn to sing their songs simply by hearing the adult birds sing.
  • The famous Bobo doll experiment conducted by Psychologist A.B. shows that human beings can learn by observation. This experiment showed that children who watch adults hit the Bobo doll are more likely to hit the Bobo doll themselves. In fact, most of the behavior learned by human beings is by observation and imitation.

Apart from recompense and penalization, other factors that may influence behaviors are as follows:

  • Thinking patterns: Cognitive factors like thinking patterns can also drive behaviors. A person's thought process can directly influence their behaviors. Consider negative thinking patterns such as catastrophization. It is a way of thinking in which people assume that situations/events/other things are worse than they actually are. This leads one to assume that only the worst things are going to happen to them, and this is unlikely to change. For instance, one thinks that they will fail in an exam because they are a bad student and can never pass. This may lead them to engage in behaviors such as not studying and constantly worrying about the outcome.
  • Emotion: They can be considered as feelings or moods. Emotions tend to underlie some of the behaviors. Consider the emotion of anger. When one feels angry, they are led by their anger into behaving in certain ways. For instance, angry people may lash out at the person/people they are angry with, or they may abuse or threaten them. In other instances, anger drives people into behaving aggressively with the object of their anger.
  • Motivation: It is considered to be the underlying force that propels people into performing behaviors that can help them achieve their goals. For instance, if one is hungry, one strives to fulfill their hunger. This motivates them to cook food so that they can satisfy their hunger. In other instances, the joy of doing something is motivation enough to perform that behavior. For instance, if someone enjoys reading, they are motivated to read books. If someone experiences the emotion of fear, they may choose to fight the object they fear or they may choose to flee from it. Psychologists R and M consider motivation to be the driving factor that leads people toward self-actualization, which is to fulfill one's potential.

Sample Response

Rewards are pleasant things that a person desires, and they help in strengthening and increasing a behavior. On the other hand, punishments are aversive, and they help in weakening or reducing a behavior.


There are two sides to the argument as to whether one's behavior depends on rewards and punishments:

  • Yes, behavior depends on rewards and punishments.
  • No, behavior does not depend on rewards and punishments.

In cases where behavior does not solely depend on rewards or punishments, other factors play an influential role in behavior. These factors are as follows:

  • Thinking patterns
  • Emotion
  • Motivation
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