All About Punishment

An eye for an eye is one of the strongest human instincts, but reciprocating harm is not always the best course of action. Punishment sometimes works to condition people not to repeat misdeeds, and threats of negative repercussions can act as disincentives, but our ability to rise above our base instinct for revenge and judge each situation objectively and with an eye toward rehabilitation is one of the highest achievements of humanity and of civilization.

Recent posts on Punishment

Predicting Criminal Behavior

Here's what history teaches us.

Alternatives to Punishment and Rewards

By Jon Lasser, Ph.D. on February 10, 2018 in School and Family Matters
Punishing my child doesn't work? Here's an alternative.

Don't Let the Bully Win

Bullies can emerge in any human community. Here's the evolutionary psychology of how we deal with them.

Want Teens To Smoke Less Pot? Legalize It

By Nathan H. Lents, Ph.D. on February 05, 2018 in Beastly Behavior
The belief that the stigmatization of drugs as illegal and dangerous reduces teen drug use is not just wrong. It's backwards.

"All criminals have blank records until they are caught"

It is essential to uncover what lies deeply buried.

Hating the Patriots is Natural for Many

One reason to never cheat is this: There is perhaps nothing you can do to hurt your reputation more than to get yourself labeled as a cheater. And this fact has hurt the Patriots.

When Perpetrators Are Also Victims

What happens when the perpetrator is also a victim of human trafficking? Understanding the complexities that a trauma-informed approach affords—and why it is so critical.

Why Sisyphus's Punishment Differs from the Human Condition

Camus's claim that our lives are similar to Sisyphus's absurd life is wrong and harmful.

The Criminalization of "Revenge Porn"

Many voyeurism laws prohibit nonconsensual recording & distribution of sexually explicit images of others. But they don't protect people who consented or recorded the images.

#MeToo and Liberation for All

By Miki Kashtan Ph.D. on January 22, 2018 in Acquired Spontaneity
Most people seem to believe both that punishing men is successful at protecting and supporting women, and that nothing other than punishment could be. I question both.

The Psychology of Child Torture

What is the common nature of these horrific acts — and the people behind them?

A Law Enforcement A.I. Is No More or Less Biased Than People

By Matthew Hutson on January 17, 2018 in Psyched!
When does it make sense to rely on algorithms?

Icon Intimidation and Sexual Predation

By J. Reid Meloy Ph.D. on January 16, 2018 in The Forensic Files
Icon intimidation often stops investigation and prosecution of criminal sexual predation. A forensic psychologist and retired FBI criminal profiler explain why.

Solitary Confinement: Torture, Pure and Simple

Placing individuals in solitary confinement is both inhumane and unethical.
eric maisel

Why Authoritarians Love Religion

The ongoing Authoritarian Wound series continues with an examination of the authoritarian personality's relationship to religion.
Yuganov Konstantin/Shutterstock

4 Things Every Parent Should Stop Doing Right Now

By Paula L. White M.A. on January 08, 2018 in Shape Parenting
Do you want to make life better for your kids? Stop doing these 4 things today.

A Case Study on Punishment

When you were punished as a child, did it work? Or did you just strategize how to get away with your behavior the next time?

Beyond Looking: When Voyeurism Leads to Criminal Behavior

Voyeuristic tendencies range from the mild to the malevolent. And although such behavior itself is unsettling, some voyeuristic individuals do more than just look.

Effective Persuasion Strategies in Romantic Relationships

How do people persuade and influence their dates or mates? What tactics do they use to change the minds of their lovers and partners? Find out what the research says…
eric maisel

Please Break My Rules!

In the next installment of the Healing the Authoritarian Wound series, we look at why authoritarians want their rules violated and not followed.

4 Keys to Understanding Our Weird, Inconsistent Morality

By Rob Henderson on December 26, 2017 in After Service
What science reveals about morality, and how to make better moral decisions.

The Devil You Know

By Michael W. Austin Ph.D. on December 20, 2017 in Ethics for Everyone
Elicka Peterson-Sparks argues that there is a strong connection between certain forms of conservative Christianity in the United States and criminal behavior.

Revenge vs. Rehabilitation

By Joseph Burgo Ph.D. on December 18, 2017 in Shame
Is the "name and shame" campaign purely about exacting revenge against sexual harassers?

Are Judges Swayed by Apologies?

Apologies can do wonders for mending relationships. However, judges who hear a lot of apologies have their own perspectives.
iclipart, used with permission

Multiple Personality or Malingering?

By Joni E Johnston Psy.D. on December 11, 2017 in The Human Equation
What happens when a person with multiple personalities kills? Pamela Moss claimed her alters were linked to two murders committed years apart but insisted she, the host, was not.

Mental Health Jails

By Terry A Kupers M.D. on December 09, 2017 in Prisons and Prisms
Criminalizing mental illness merely compounds the problem.

Punishment-Based Dog Training a Risk Factor for Euthanasia?

By Jessica Pierce Ph.D. on December 06, 2017 in All Dogs Go to Heaven
Why do some dogs with behavioral problems wind up being euthanized or relinquished, while others are able to successfully stay in their home?

Criminal Profiling: The Original Mind Hunters

By Scott A. Bonn Ph.D. on December 04, 2017 in Wicked Deeds
Practitioners of profiling analyzing evidence gathered at a crime scene and statements provided by victims and witnesses in order to develop a description of an unknown offender.

Vengefulness Is Driven by One Dominant Personality Trait

By Christopher Bergland on December 02, 2017 in The Athlete's Way
A new study identifies the personality correlates of people who are prone to seeking revenge.

Why Giving Up Sometimes Makes Sense

By Seth Slater M.F.A. on November 30, 2017 in The Dolphin Divide
Quitting for now can mean winning later on. Giving up to conserve energy can sometimes be our best and smartest option for the moment.