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negative reinforcement doesn’t work

Author Alan C. Fox: Why Positive Reinforcement is (almost) Always Better Than Negative

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Years ago, a University of Southern California professor who was teaching a psychology class I was sitting in on taught me an important lesson about human behavior. He suggested that positive reinforcement is a more effective way of getting people to do what you want than negative reinforcement. “What?!?!?!” I objected. “That’s crazy!” Despite my objections, he challenged me to try out his theory with my friends, loved ones, and employees and report back to the class about my results. To my surprise, he was right: in almost every instance that week, using positive reinforcement rather than negative yielded a better result for me and the other people involved. This lesson has stuck with me over the years. And I’ve…

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