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LETTERS

Rewarding correct responses better than punishing incorrect ones

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Jim Bridges

Thursday, December 6, 2018

A scientist implanted an electrode in a pleasure center in a mule's brain, which gave the mule pleasure when activated. By rewarding the mule for correct behavior the scientist made the mule follow one path for a mile, turn around, and come back.

Another scientist put an electrode in a pleasure center in a rat's brain, then put the rat in a cage with two levers. Pushing one lever provided food. Pushing the other lever delivered a jolt of pleasure to the rat. Guess what. He pushed the pleasure lever until he starved. (Drug addicts behave similarly.)

By using a similar technique, a scientist could "lead" a horse to water and make him drink. Rewarding correct responses changes behavior more effectively than punishing incorrect responses. 

Jim Bridges

Elizabeth City 

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