Vicarious Punishment

Vicarious punishment occurs when the tendency to engage in a behavior is weakened after having observed the negative consequences for another engaging in that behavior. This is a form of observational learning as described by social learning theory. According to Albert Bandura's social learning theory, observers change their behavior based on viewing the behavior of another person (often referred to as a “model”). In vicarious punishment, an observer views a model experiencing a negative outcome—either the application of an aversive consequence or the removal of a desired consequence—for emitting a behavior, and as a result the observer is less likely to exhibit the behavior. The observer infers the likelihood of punishment for himself or herself, which decreases the probability that he or she will ...

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