The reason punishment has to be immediate has more to do with the association between the behavior and its consequences. Punishment needs to be immediate because without that immediacy the subject will not equate the punishment to the behavior- but with an action more recent, like getting caught. This, if you’ll remember, is likely why my 6 months of grounding was not effective towards my homework habits.

Cicconetti’s loophole is in forcing the individual to associate the punishment with the behavior. First, he gives them a choice: you can either go to jail- which may bankrupt you and cause you to wind up back in here out of necessity, or you can do community service. Then he takes that second option and fine-tunes it to the crime. Oh, you made your dog live in garbage alone for months? Well let’s put you in a pile of garbage and have you try to think of how that dog must have felt in that house.

This establishes the connection between the behavior and the punishment far better, and also saves the subject from a life-long set of consequences.

I encourage you to look towards your own life with this knowledge and use it yo your advantage, especially when parenting. Try to think of your kids as people too and recognize that your punishments for them may need to be creative in order to be effective. Try to encourage creative administrations like Cicconetti’s that push recidivism rates down in communities by using psychological tools to their advantage.

I encourage you to think about punishment as I have the past month- what does this mean to you? What memories do you have of being punished, or when punishing your own kids- did those punishments work? According to the effectiveness model I have described Why do you think they did or didn’t work?

And as always, Keep learning my friends.

Fazel, S., & Wolf, A. (2015, June 18). A Systematic Review of Criminal Recidivism Rates Worldwide: Current Difficulties and Recommendations for Best Practice. Retrieved from

Gazzaniga, M. S. (2018). Psychological science. New York, NY: W.W. Norton & Company.

National Institute of Justice. (n.d.). Recidivism. Retrieved from

Pinker, S. (2012). The better angels of our nature: Why violence has declined. New York: Penguin Books.

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2 thoughts on “Everything You Think You Know About Punishment is Wrong- ABKpsych

  1. wow, this is a good piece. Thank you for informing us that physical punishment like spanking can cause mental behavior problems to kids, so the best way to discipline them is to use the alternative methods. Thank you, I learn new things.

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