By understanding the motives encouraging a person to move on and be active, it is possible to purposefully influence his/her behavior and activity. Among the methods of influencing the behavior of a person are affirmative action and punishment. Certain patterns of behavior are reinforced only in case they are accompanied with affirmative action so that the probability of them being repeated is decreased if one’s actions are not connected with something positive.
Affirmative action stands for pleasant outcomes and results of one’s activity, which encourage a person to behave in this or that way. In order to reinforce certain patterns of behavior, a person should be given an opportunity to assert him/herself. However, if one’s actions are not associated with pleasant emotions or otherwise associated with something negative, this or that pattern of behavior is highly unlikely to be repeated. These principles are often used by teachers and parents. If to praise a child regularly, children will be more motivated in their actions. Psychological studies indicate that parents should use affirmative action instead of punishing their children in the course of upbringing. This will make the process of upbringing more effective and humanistic.
However, the process of upbringing is often accompanied with punishment, which generally proves to be ineffective causing harm to a child’s personality. A great role is played by praise from the side of adults, with whom a child is in good relations. However, too much appraisal and its excessively frequent use decreases the effectiveness of affirmative action. In this regard, it should be noted that evaluation of one’s actions also refers to the affirmative action. Furthermore, material reward also has a great impact on one’s motivation in some kind of activity. Regular use of affirmative action motivates a person in many respects.
On the other hand, affirmative action is often associated with negative motivation. This stands for one’s intentions to act in this or that way after some negative events in life. It is also associated with punishment. If a person is motivated towards acting in this or that way because of a threat of punishment or negative outcomes, the purpose of his/her actions is to decrease the risk of being punished and get rid of any fears associated with it. In a social context, negative motivation occupies a less significant position and is less desirable in comparison with other motives.
The effectiveness of negative motivation lies in the fact that a person acts in this or that way in order to avoid negative outcomes or punishment. It is always pleasant to avoid being punished, and this pleasure becomes an affirmative action. Punishment stimulates a person towards getting engaged in some activity only if there is a high risk of being punished for rejecting to do something. If a person is sure that his/her undesirable actions will in any way be punished, he/she will be more motivated. Furthermore, punishment is effective only when a person is punished right after he/she has done something wrong.
Among the negative sides of punishment as a method of motivational influence are the following. Punishment can play a role of encouraging the negative behavior of children. It may also lead to the behavioral deviations as it causes aggression and negativism in children. Expectation of punishment makes a person feel excessively anxious. Furthermore, punishment makes children imitate the behavior of parents, while a desire to avoid punishment lasts until there is a threat of negative outcomes. It makes it clear that affirmative action is more effective than punishment, and the effectiveness of it depends on the intensity of positive emotions. Overall, it is important to note that affirmative action is a great tool in forming the behavior of a person.