Aversive Control Literature Review

  • Length: 3 pages
  • Sources: 1+
  • Subject: Psychology - Behaviorism
  • Type: Literature Review
  • Paper: #48297908

Excerpt from Literature Review :

Aversive Control

Punishment can be defined as a way to reduce a given behavior by attaching a consequence to behaving a certain way or doing a particular thing. Some of the consequences that denote positive punishment include loud noise, electric shock and a reprimand. The consequences that denote negative punishment include money, access to a given social environment and food. Several studies have discussed the effects and implications of aversive control. The main topics that have been covered include how they affect the use of nicotine, analysis of man's neuropsychiatric behavior and the use of aversive techniques such as punishment tools.

An aversive stimulus can maintain the behavior of an organism that rids another organism of the targeted aversive stimulus. This is definitely different from positive reinforcement where the reinforcing event is the production of the stimulus. One distinct characteristic of aversive control is an avoidance or escape behavior targeted. The maintained behavior may be further strengthened through the use of aversive stimulus. This explains why aversive control is a popular method of behavioral control despite the resultant effects which may be negative, and sometimes, instances of it being ineffective in the long-term. Certain types of aversive control are practically non-social, as is the case with chain behaviors where there is need for a series of performances where each performance is the stepping stone for the next, as is the case in machine construction or an assembly line in the motor industry (Aversive Control, 2017). This review will focus on the three main areas of concern mentioned:

Efficacy and Ethics of Punishment

There has been a lot of controversy over punishment and this has led to many papers taking contradicting positions with some arguing fiercely whether the use of aversive stimuli is legal or not, and whether or not the long-term effects warrant its use. As per the survey done for the research, respondents noted that even non-aversive procedures have some aversive components embedded into them. Since it has been found that using interventions with aversive components can be more effective than those that do not incorporate punishment, with people indicating that they prefer such interventions over their non-aversive counterparts, there is need for empirical research. The past several years have seen many commentators call for more research to be carried out on aversive control and punishment. From the survey, we can conclude that researchers agree with these commentators that more research needs to be done (DiGennaro & Lovett, 2008).

Behavioral Control and Nicotine

The few instances where nicotine acts as a reinforcer might be connected, in some way, to nicotine's aversive effects. This is to say that nicotine's stimulus effects can make an organism behave in a way indicating that they…

Sources Used in Document:


Aversive Control. (2017). Retrieved from Psychology and Human Behaviour: http://psychology.jrank.org/human-behavior/pages/cmxyrs7fqv/aversive-control-stimulus-reinforcement.html

DiGennaro, F., & Lovett, B. (2008). Views on the Efficacy and Ethics of Punishment: Results from a National Survey. International Journal of Behavioral Consultation and Therapy, 61 - 67.

Geurts, D., Huys, Q., Ouden, H., & Cools, R. (2013). Serotonin and Aversive Pavlovian Control of Instrumental Behavior in Humans. The Journal of Neuroscience, 932 - 939.

Thi Truong, Y. (2014). Aversive control of behavior: punishing effects of intravenous nicotine in rats. University of Michigan Dissertation Papers.

Cite This Literature Review:

"Aversive Control" (2017, February 19) Retrieved February 26, 2020, from

"Aversive Control" 19 February 2017. Web.26 February. 2020. <

"Aversive Control", 19 February 2017, Accessed.26 February. 2020,